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SCIENCE 

FICTION 


DOMINION PROBLEM IN ETHICS 

By ARTHUR J. BURKS By HENRY KUTTNER 





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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ON PAGE 54 



Volume 3 + CONTENTS FOR JULY, 1943 -ft Number S 


COMPLETE SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL 

DOMINION.By Arthur J. Burks 10 

Trapped in a fantastic jungle city. XJ. S. Agents Leyson and Horton looked on, helpless, 
while a conqueror's terrible plans unfolded. And Von Glauber proclaimed: "Behold 
the New People, created and built to rule and have dominion over all the Earth, for 
the glory of the Reich!" 


THRILLING SHORT STORIES 

INFILTRATION . By Clifford D. Simak 43 

Everyone thought that the "Monsters From Mars" were just clever fakes—until the 
eerie creatures broke loose! 

BLACKOUT . By Damon Knight 55 

There's no telling what you may see, it Charles Fort's theories are right! 

PROBLEM IN ETHICS.By Henry Kuttner 58 

The whole thought of violence was so foreign to the people of the twenty-first century 
that it looked as it Mazeith, with its gangster tactics, would crush all competition with 
ease. But fire can be fought with fire... 

THE MAN WHO SAVED NEW YORK.By Ray Cummings 69 

You won't believe it. but the reason why this war hasn't been won as yet is because 
a starry-eyed girl named Lisbeth gummed up the works/ 

THE STELLAR VAMPIRES.By Frank Belknap Long 79 

Strange was the doom that came to the stranded men on barren Mars—but stranger 
still was the message they sent out into space: "We walk alone!" 

THE MACHINE THAT CHANGED HISTORY. By Robert Bloch 83 

Adolf Hitler was jubilant; he saw how he could win the world with this time ma¬ 
chine; he'd kidnap the great Napoleon, and the two would work out a master strat¬ 
egy. But Bonaparte had other ideas - 

THE ANSWER OUT OF SPACE.By Graph Waldeyer 97 

John Smith was different—but only the stranger from space knew the full answer! 

Cover by Milton Luros, symbolizing the threat of metal men, in Arthur J. Burks' novel, 
"Dominion." Illustrations by Bok, Fax, Finlay & Shumaker. 

| ROBERT W. LOWNDES, Editor 

SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, published Quarterly January, April, July, and October by COLUMBIA 
PUULICATIONS^INC.^ Appleton Streetjaolyolre^MasA 0 uine <> Aetlonerou^Bo'^Sdso^'streefuJf^ 

yearly^Xrnlptlon^^'Ma^KriptsJms^be^accompanM^hy^l^addrMs^^stainped envelopes ^insure 

at author's risk. Printed in the U, S. -A. 

















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9 
















* DOMINION* 

A Great Science Fiction Novel 

By Arthur J. Burks 


Deep in the heart of South America's jungles, US Agents Leyson 
and Horton found the source of the fantastic rumours which had 
been alarming government officials. And the facts they found 
were stranger than the wildest stories they had heard, for here 
were a race of metal men, the New People. And here, behind the 
scenes, was Von Glauber, sworn follower of the swastika, making 
a madman's dream come true. For the metal giants had been 
made to rise and conquer, and have dominion over all the worldl 



OLY MOTHER!” said 
Roger Horton, coining 
to a halt and spread¬ 
ing his legs wide apart to keep from 
going down. “Take a look at that, 
will you!” 

Jack Leyson looked in his turn, 
and in spite of the terrific heat of the 
jungle, went icy cold. Whatever 
he had expected to find up here, it 
certainly hadn’t been something out 
of a madman’s nightmare. Night¬ 
marish creatures of fang and claw, 
yes—but nothing like this. He could 
hear the chattering of Roger Hor¬ 
ton’s teeth, and it wasn’t, this time, 
because of the fever that had gripped 
them both for the past three weeks, 


10 




"This bullet." came the 
cold metallic voice ot the 
robot leader, "will take 
the heel off your right 
boot." The rifle barked, 
and Leyson's right boot- 
heel flew off, almost mak¬ 
ing him lose his grasp on 
the ledge. Above, in the 
cave mouth, Horton 
crouched, watching grim¬ 
ly■ 


11 


12 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


since they had lost all their duffel 
—since their carriers had vanished 
like wraiths, and they had been 
forced to live off the country. 

Both agents stared at the appari¬ 
tion. It looked as though it might 
have come out of a clothing store 
window on Fifth Avenue. It was a 
white man, but one who seemed to 
wear a mask over his face, so empty 
of emotion was it. The silent one 
was dressed in skin-tight clothing, 
wore queer, square-toed shoes, and a 
hat that looked like a fireman’s hel¬ 
met with the brim cut off almost all 
the way around. 

He was perhaps six feet tall and 
his eyes had an eerie shine to them, 
in the shadows of the teeming forest. 
He carried no weapons. He merely 
stood and confronted the two agents. 
But an aura of menace seemed to 
flow out of him; Jack Leyson could 
feel it, like nothing he had ever ex¬ 
perienced in all his contact with 
strange peoples. Roger Horton was 
plainly frightened. He wouldn’t 
have been, had the stranger been 
armed and openly antagonistic. It 
was the man’s silence that grated 
most. Jack Leyson was on the point 
of asking the stranger what the devil 
it was all about, when Roger Horton 
lost control of himself. 

Leyson heard the safety catch click 
on Horton’s automatic, but before the 
fact could register, Horton had 
leveled his weapon. The forest 
roared with the sounds of the ex¬ 
plosions, three of them in quick suc¬ 
cession. Leyson, staring in horror 
at the pasty-faced apparition, dis¬ 
tinctly heard the bullets strike, and 
the sound of their striking added to 
the creeping terror in his heart. The 
man did not go down, did not even 
seem to feel the bullets. Roger Hor¬ 
ton was a dead shot; moreover. Ley- 
son had heard those bullets smash 
into the stranger. 

Now, after a moment’s hesitation, 
during which Leyson had heard the 
automatic drop from the nerveless 
hand of Horton, the stranger spoke. 
There was a peculiar, guttural qual¬ 
ity in his voice. 

“You are my prisoners, gentlemen. 


You will offer no resistance. You 
will follow me!” 

What sort of a man was this, any¬ 
way? Leyson asked himself. No soon¬ 
er had he spoken than he turned, pre¬ 
senting his back squarely to the two 
half-dead U. S. government agents, 
and started off through the forest. 

“He doesn’t even disarm us!” said 
Roger Horton, through chattering 
teeth. “Jack, what on earth is this, 
anyway?” 

“I don’t know, Rog, but we haven’t 
much choice.” 

“You are quite right, gentlemen,” 
replied the stranger, without turn¬ 
ing his head. “You have no choice. 
Rather, you have the choice you have 
had all along: finding a place where 
you can rest, unmolested, or dying 
in the jungle. You must know that 
you can’t last much longer.” 

“Wait a minute!” said Leyson 
hoarsely. “What if we don’t choose 
to be your prisoners?” 

“Then you can die. You are hope¬ 
lessly lost.” 

“What if we decide to fight it out 
with you?” 

“Hopeless, gentlemen, I assure 
you. I can kill you both with my 
hands. Your rifles and automatics 
are useless against me.” 

“ But who are you? What are 
you?” 

“One of the New People,” said the 
stranger. “Call me Zehn, if you must 
have a name. And by the way,” the 
stranger had turned when Leyson 
called to him, “what are your names? 
You will save time if you tell me.” 

“My name,” said Horton, “is Rog¬ 
er Horton. My partner is John 
Leyson.” 

“I thought as much,” said Zehn. 
“Then you are the two gentlemen 
who have been expected! Follow 

me. It is not too far.” 

PJS^HE people who have been ex- 
JSL pected! That glacial chill still 
possessed the fever-wracked body of 
Jack Leyson. He could still hear 

the chattering of Roger Horton’s 

teeth. How could the two of them 
possibly be expected by anyone? For 
all the world knew they were merely 
a couple of explorers, engaged in 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 13 


that perennial will-n’-the-wisn hunt 
which had engaged the curiosity of 
so many explorers: the finding of 
Colonel Fawcett, or information as 
to how he had died. That was their 
publicly avowed purpose. 

In reality-they had come into the 
jungles to discover whether certain 
whispers of secret bases, far inland, 
were true. Neither had believed it, 
but they had started to carry out 
their duty. And had had hard luck 
from the start. 

Darts from the blow-tubes of un¬ 
seen marauders had killed two of 
their carriers, three w$eks before. 
Three others had wandered into the 
jungles, hunting agouti for food; 
they had never returned. The boats 
had been lost in the rapids of a name¬ 
less river. 

Finally, the remaining carriers re¬ 
fused to go further, fearing canni¬ 
balistic Indians who were supposed 
to abound in these parts. The terri¬ 
fied carriers had simply run away. 

With only their guns left the two 
had doggedly set out to go through 
with their work, planning to live off 
the country, even though they knew 
next to nothing about it. And now, 
this! 

“Notice how he spoke English?” 
asked Roger Horton. “Guttural!” 

“And you must have missed him 
with all three shots!” said Leyson. 

“No! No, I didn’t. I hit him 
squarely in the chest. Didn’t even 
stagger him. And his eyes, Jack! 
Did you notice what they looked 
like?” 

“Yes, like the eyes of a bush- 
master, only larger. They glowed, 
just like the eyes of a cat in the 
dark.” 

“But who and what is he? I never 
heard of any white people in here. 
He carries no weapons....” 

“I think,” said Leyson softly, 
“that the New People, whatever they 
are, don’t need weapons. Rog, we’ve 
bumped into something that will 
make people’s hair stand on end.” 

“Mine already feels like it. .What 
do we do?” 

“Take things as they come, until 
we find out what the answer is—and 
hope we get it before dark. If we 


don’t, I’m going to be a gibbering 
idiot before morning. Watch Zehn 
take the jungles!” 

“Zehn?” said Horton. “Zehn? 
Zehn is German for ten, Jack. Is 
that a clue, or a coincidence?” 

“Take things as they come, Rog, 
keep your head and your nerve; we’ll 
see what happens. But save your 
slugs. The guy must wear armor 
plate under his clothes. And what 
strange clothes!” 

The stranger ahead, who moved 
through the liana-strangled aisles of 
the forest like an Indian, finding a 
way which no white man—though he 
himself seemed to be white—could 
possibly have seen, called back to 
them. 

“Please be good enough not to 
talk. It hurts!” 

Now what the devil did the fellow 
mean by that? Horton started to 
ask, but Zehn seemed to read his 
thought, for he added, 

“I meant it, definitely! If you do 
not remain silent I shall be forced 
to silence you. Your lives are in 
my hands; you should know it, if 
you really have the intelligence your 
government must have thought you 
had.” 

“And how,” whispered Lyson, “do 
you like them potatoes?” 

T HE two Americans had been well 
chosen for their job. Both had 
been agents for Uncle Sam for five 
years, entrusted with dangerous and 
important missions, all over the 
world. Always together, they seldom 
disagreed. They might have been 
blood-brothers as well as brothers in 
arms. Roger Horton was five feet 
nine inches tall; he had a waistline 
when he entered the jungles, a waist¬ 
line which had vanished so definitely 
that his clothes hung on him like 
gunny sacks. Jack Leyson was over 
six feet in height, muscle and steel 
and endurance—three words which 
applied also to Roger Horton. 

But fever, bad water, insect bites, 
sleeplessness, had knocked most of 
the endurance out of them. Three 
days ago they had agreed that they 
couldn’t last forty-eight hours long¬ 
er. That they had so far lasted 




14 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


seventy-two hours both regarded as 
a kind of miracle. 

“Watch Zehn!” said Leyson, not 
with words, but by clutching Hor¬ 
ton’s arm, pinching it, pointing. 

Leyson himself could scarcely take 
his eyes off the mysterious Mr. Zehn. 
That worthy moved easily through 
the woods, never for a second being 
at loss for the proper direction to— 
wherever he was taking them. He 
did not use his hands to ward off 
branches. Smaller ones slapped 
against his face, to his complete un¬ 
concern. Larger ones he avoided by 
ducking his head, just enough to 
escape them. He never seemed to 
look down at his feet, as every travel¬ 
er in the Amazon watershed must, if 
he is to escape dying by snake-bite. 
Insects, both men noticed, disre¬ 
garded the stranger, though they still 
attacked Leyson and Horton with 
ferocity. Both men had long ago 
given up trying to battle mosquites, 
chiggers, mosquito-worms. It was a 
hopeless fight against impossible 
odds. 

“I never before,” whispered Hor¬ 
ton, “saw a man immune to the crit¬ 
ters !” 

“Horton!” said the guttural voice. 
“If you speak again, even to whisper, 
I shall kill you! Do you understand? 
I tell you, it hurts!’’ 

Horton exchanged glances with 
Leyson. What did the fellow mean? 
How could words hurt, especially 
whispers? Did he mean that he was 
afraid they were plotting against 
him, to overpower him? No, they 
knew he didn’t mean that.... 

The sun was dropping swiftly 
down the western sky, and the way 
led sharply upward, as it had led for 
the last tWo weeks. There had been 
times when Horton and Leyson had 
to scale cliffs. But not now, not 
with this stranger leading them. 
There seemed always to be a way up. 
A ravine here, a crevasse there. The 
stranger seemed to knew every foot 
of the ground. Whither was he lead¬ 
ing them? The jungle itself seemed 
to be awaiting the answer to that. 

Horton suddenly put his hand on 
Leyson’s arm. But Leyson had seen 
it at the same time. The deadly 


sirucucu, fastest striking, most dead¬ 
ly of jungle reptiles. Raised half 
its length, it was set to strike at Mr. 
Zehn. Even as the two agents spotted 
the ghastly creature—which was all 
of ten feet long—it struck. They 
hadn’t even a chance to call out a 
warning. 

The bullet head hit. It slanted 
off. The reptile fell to the ground, 
threshing about.... 

Mr. Zehn calmly strode on, ignor¬ 
ing the most lethal reptile in the 
whole South American jungles! 
Moreover, Leyson and Horton saw 
the reptile do something they had 
never heard of it doing before; it 
wriggled off into the jungle without 
renewing the attack. They breathed 
a sigh of relief, because they would 
have to pass the spot where it had 
fallen, to keep on the heels of Mr. 
Zehn. And from the mouth of Mr. 
Zehn came a sound that set the 
hackles of both men raising, a grim, 
satanic chuckle, like no chuckle they 
had ever heard before! Mr Zehn 
marched straight on. A minute 
passed. Mr. Zehn spoke, 

“If that snake had struck one of 
you gentlemen, you would have an¬ 
other minute of life left, wouldn’t 
you? Oh, don’t answer, please. I 
still am hurt more by talk than by 
snake venom, far more! If you are 
expecting me to start looking at the 
palms of my hands, for blood and 
pus, the usual result of such a bite, 
you’re doomed to disappointment. I 
shall suffer no ill effects whatever!” 

“The devil!” thought Leyson. “The 
man simply is not human!” 

“Correct, Mr. Leyson,” said Mr. 
Zehn. “I am not human, literally, 
not human. You should have dis¬ 
covered that, long ago!” 

A GAIN the two explorers ex¬ 
changed glances. As the shad¬ 
ows deepened in the forest a strange, 
eerie radiance seemed to grow about 
the body of Mr. Zehn. He appeared 
to have a sort of inner light of his 
own. Even this early, before dusk, 
Leyson had the fearful suspicion that 
he could follow Mr. Zehn in the 
dark, by Mr. Zehn’s own light. There 
was sheer horror in the implications 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 15 


of all this that might have unseated 
the reason of a man new to the 
jungles—even Leyson himself, had 
he encountered him three weeks be¬ 
fore. But in three weeks he had 
seen too much, experienced too much. 
Nothing now could do aught to his 
brain. 

Horton was reeling all over the 
place. Leyson, himself almost too 
weak to stand, to say nothing of 
walking, tried to keep Horton from 
going down. The result was that 
both men went down, and Mr. Zehn 
stopped, turned back, said, 

“Walk back three paces, Leyson. 
I’ll take care of your friend!” 

Leyson, puzzled, got to his feet, 
did as he had been bidden, as there 
seemed to be no threat in the words 
of Mr. Zehn. Zehn came back, looked 
down at Horton, stooped, gathered 
him swiftly up in his arms, flung him 
over his shoulders.... 

A scream of horror burst from the 
lips of Roger Horton. That scream 
seemed to startle Zehn for the first 
time. He jumped, trembled and 
shook for a moment like a man with 
the ague. His arm—he used but one, 
the right, to hold Horton in posi¬ 
tion-closed so tightly on Horton 
that Leyson could almost hear his 
partner’s ribs crack. 

“Don’t hurt him, you!” said Ley- 
son. “Or I’ll_” 

“You’ll do nothing, Leyson,” said 
the stranger, “if you don’t want me 
to squeeze your friend completely in 
two!” 

Leyson started forward. Zehn 
stopped, started turning. Blast it, 
did the man have eyes in the back of 
his head? Leyson stared at Horton, 
hanging limply there over Zehn’s 
back—Zehn, who still showed no ef¬ 
fect whatever from the bite of the 
sirucucu. 

Horton had lost consciousness. 
And several wild thoughts raced 
through the skull of Jack Leyson. 
Not once, he remembered now, when 
limbs had slapped against the face 
and head of Zehn, had his strange 
hat been disturbed. Bullets hadn’t 
harmed him. Deadly snake venom 
had no effect on him. He seemed 
tireless. 


Hell, was Leyson crazy with fever? 
he asked himself. Why hadn’t he 
realized it before? He certainly 
should have seen that the man real¬ 
ly wore no clothes at all; they were 
painted on! A sort of gruesome joke 
on the part of someone, plainly. 

Moreover, Zehn himself had said 

- “I am literally not human!” Had 

referred to himself as “one of the 
New People!” 

1&/IR. ZEHN, Mr. Ten, was a me- 
JLyjH chanical man! A life-size, 
nightmarish Charlie McCarthy who 
was as good a woodsman as an In¬ 
dian! 

But how could any mechanical man 
do what Mr. Zehn had been doing 
for hours? And whence came the 
words that had come out of his me¬ 
tallic mouth? And why was this 
mechanical man, so perfectly made 
that he had fooled Leyson up until 
now, and Horton until Horton had 
felt his hands, been thrown over his 
shoulder, here in the woods at all? 

“Mister Ten!” 

How many more of “Mister Ten” 
were there? Nine, Leyson guessed, 
obviously. But how many more than 
ten? Leyson’s mind went numb with 
the shock of the dreadful discovery, 
all that it did not imply. But he 
stumbled on after Zehn and Horton, 
until just after dusk and....yes, it 
was easy to follow the luminous Mr. 
Zehn_ 

Right up to the hoary-with-age 
city of stone, against the sheer wall 
of a cliff of black basalt. A tum¬ 
bled mass of a city out of past be¬ 
yond the records of man. Great 
blocks of stone, piled one upon an¬ 
other to form temples, and dwellings. 
Streets. Jumbled terrain below the 
cliff, made nightmarish by the mas¬ 
sive rocks upon the hummocks. A 
place of shadows, of vague menace, 
of growing fear. 

And of many people like Mr. Zehn, 
moving hither and yon upon hor¬ 
ribly mysterious business. It was 
little wonder, when he caught sight 
of this city of the dead, occupied 
by New People who would never 
live, that Leyson’s body reeled, as 
his mind had all but been reeling 




1& ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


since he had discovered some of the 
impossible truth about Mr. Zehn. 

Mr. Zehn, stepping out of the 
jungles, set Horton upon his feet. Ha 
held him up with his left hand, 
grasped his chin with his right, 
shook it roughly from side to side. 
Horton snapped out of it, finally, 
opened his eyes to look into those 
of Mr. Zehn. His mouth opened on 
a shriek of terror. 

“No, please, Horton,” said Mr. 
Zehn. “I’ve already told you, it 
hurts! You gentlemen will take up 
your abode in whatever building 
suits you. I shall send food to you 
shortly. Food! How poorly organ¬ 
ized, these who have need of it!” 

CHAPTER II 
Deepening Mystery 

WW T’S LIKE being on another 
Sj planet,” said Roger Hor- 
JHL ton, as the two men, wait¬ 
ing for something to eat, stood in 
the door of the stone building they 
had chosen for the time being. “An 
ancient city, going back forever, as 
far as we know....” 

“Inhabited by people so modern,” 
said Leyson grimly, “that they’re 
decades ahead of their time.” 

“With armies mechanized,” said 
Roger Horton, “I’m not so sure. Jack, 
just what do you think we’re in for?” 

“Certainly nothing our superiors 
in Washington could have guessed,” 
said Jack grimly. “Just have a look 
out there, will you!” 

Now that the sun had set, a pale 
yellowish moon rode high over a 
landscape that may well, as Horton 
had said, have been on another 
planet. A city of jumbled rocks 
buildings, all that remained of a for¬ 
gotten civilization. The foothills of 
a continent’s backbone, where moun¬ 
tains and jungles embraced; where 
one could look away to the sky and 
see the mountains still climbing, 
could look away below to a vast 
forest that was black by night and 
green by day. But that was not all 
that thrilled the two agents who had 
come into this land to make it safe 


for its own people, free from the 
slavery which had been visited upon 
most of Europe. 

It was the figures which moved 
through the city. Luminous, vaguely 
human figures. -Figures which 
seemed to reflect the lemonish light 
of the moon itself, except for their 
eyes. The eyes of all of them were 
crimson.... 

“Like dimmers on ambulances,” 
said Leyson huskily. “And they 
spray red light!” 

“And what are they doing?” said 
Horton. “They seem to go into the 
jungles and come out again, aimless¬ 
ly. There seems to be no reason for 
them.” 

“They’re mechanical men, Rog,” 
said Leyson, “and somewhere there 
must be real men, of strange mental 
attainments, who control them. 
Those red eyes are the lenses of 
cameras. By some means of remote 
control, the human masters of these 
Mister Zehns can see with the ruby 
eyes of their metal slaves; and by 
exercise of the same control can 
cause those monsters to walk as 
easily and surely around obstacles 
as they can themselves! Remember 
how Mr. Zehn walked? He threaded 
his way through the jungles like an 
Indian. They are wireless men, too, 
Rog. Their masters see through their 
eyes; talk through their metal 
mouths. When Mr. Zehn talked to 
us, the words we heard were actually 
those of his pilot for the moment, 
who, many miles away, could see us 
through Zehn’s eyes, hear what we 
said, and talk to us—with perfect 
safety for himself!” 

“And when Zehn said that speech 
hurt him....” 

“Something about our vocal vibra¬ 
tion, certainly,” said Leyson. “God, 
Rog, just look at that, out there!” 

Black monoliths of stone, the hid¬ 
den city. With mechanical men, like 
overgrown fireflies, threading their 
ways in and out through the pre¬ 
historic streets, into the forest and 
out again, on missions the two flesh 
and blood men could not even guess 
at. And the picture was always 
changing because the Zehns were on 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 17 


the move. Now one portion of the 
city would be strangely lighted, now 
dreadfully dark. The robots were 
their own lanterns. 

“They’re making photographic 
maps of the area, Rog,” said Leyson. 

“They? Who?” 

“Whoever rules the mechanical 
men!” 

“And what do you suppose they’re 
going to do with us?” 

“Something, certainly, or they 
wouldn’t have kept us alive. And 
right at this moment nobody is 
watching us, or listening to us, so 
it’s a time for making plans. We’ve 
got to find the central control plan 
of this unbelievable place!” 

“Shhhh!” said Roger Horton. 
“Someone’s coming!” Horton 
chuckled when he had spoken. An 
odd way to speak of mechanical men. 
And yet, in all things save souls 
and brains, the mechanical men were 
like other men, and far more efficient. 
They did not need food, rest, water, 
or protection against the dangers of 
the jungles. They had no slightest 
conception of fear. Perfect soldiers 
of the unknown forests! 

M R. ZEHN came through the 
door, his arms filled with 
canned goods. 

Both men stared at him. Their 
faces were eerie in the light that 
came in with . Mr. Zehn. The pale 
lemonish glow of him filled the room 
in which the two agents were resting. 

“Well, Zehn,” said Leyson, “I 
thought you were never going to 
keep your promise about food! We’re 
starving. And if we had some medi¬ 
cine. .. .you see, we’re both half nuts, 
with fever.” 

“I am not Zehn,” said the slow, 
measured voice of the newcomer, a 
voice that was plainly different from 
that of Zehn. “I am Einundswanzig! 
Here is food. There is no need of 
medicines. I shall treat you! I 
might even call myself Doctor Ein¬ 
undswanzig.” 

“No doubt now, I guess,” muttered 
Horton. “German as sauerkraut. 
Twenty One! That’s this fellow’s 
name. Look at the canned stuff. 


Jack! The paper wrapping’s all re¬ 
moved !” 

“Maybe it’s our own food, that we 
had to leave behind,” said Leyson. 
“Nothing would surprise me. Got 
matches, Doc? And a can-opener? 
And we could do with some fresh 
meat.” 

“Soup, for tonight,” said the new¬ 
comer, “if I am to treat you both. 
There will be bedclothing presently, 
and a fire built on the ancient stone 
hearth yonder. Meantime, Mr. Hor¬ 
ton, give me your hands.” 

Horton gasped, looked a question 
at Leyson, who shrugged. Horton 
faced the “Doctor,” held out both 
hands. The mechanical hands of the 
Doctor reached forth, grasped the 
hands of Horton. 

“Do not be frightened,” said the 
Doctor. “The pain will be short and 
sharp.” 

No sooner had he spoken than 
Horton became mute, writhing in 
agony, while the doctor talked calm¬ 
ly with Leyson. 

“Nothing is more efficacious 
against fever than greater heat. We 
use one heat to burn out another. In 
a matter of moments, your friend 
will be free of the fever. Weak, 
however. This electrolytic treatment 
will destroy the malaria germs in his 
system.” 

The whole room seemed to be 
filled with electricity. For just 
a moment Leyson wondered if Hor¬ 
ton were being electrocuted. But he 
found himself with a strange faith 
in this Doctor. A faith at great 
variance with his certain knowledge 
that there was no mercy, no sym¬ 
pathy, no humanity in the thing. It 
was the voice that soothed him. 

Now, suddenly, Horton was re¬ 
leased. His body was bathed in 
sweat. Wonderingly, panting, he 
turned to look at Leyson. His eyes 
were clear for the first time in 
weeks. 

“I’m weak as a kitten. Jack,” he 
said, “but I haven’t felt better in 
ages.” 

Leyson, without a word, stepped 
into the strange embrace of Doctor 
Einundswanzig. The room was 
blotted out as the electricity hit 





18 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


him. He felt himself rising on his 
toes. He felt himself held in a grip 
stronger than any he had ever ex¬ 
perienced in his life before. He felt 
the surge and flow of force through 
him. He felt his breathing cut off. 
He felt he could stand it no longer. 
It was beyond endurance; but even 
as the thought flashed through 
his mind, he was released, and knew 
in the instant that he was finished 
with malaria. The “Doctor” stood 
for a moment, looking from one to 
the other. 

“You may each drink two cans of 
hot soup,” he said. “No more, or 
you will be nauseated. This treat¬ 
ment is severe.” 

Now two more “men” came into 
the place, bearing blankets, plenty 
of them. They scarcely looked at 
Horton and Leyson, and the two 
agents scarcely noticed the newcom¬ 
ers. Their beds were swiftly made 
up for them. Then one of the “men” 
brought in wood and twigs, and a 
fire was soon going, a pot placed on 
the fire, four cans of soup set to 
bubbling. Then the two men left, 
and Leyson suddenly exclaimed, 

“They didn’t say a word! I just 
remember. They weren’t luminous! 
Didn’t have ruby eyes! They wore 
colored goggles, that’s all! Rog, 
those last two were men!” 

L EYSON raced to the door, 
looked out. An eerie chuckle 
came from the “Doctor,” who said, 
“They have no light, either. They 
were lost to your sight when they 
stepped outside. No use trying to 
follow them. Yes, they were men. 
Their visit was timed exactly, to the 
moment when you would be more 
concerned with yourselves and me, 
than with anything else. We are a 
very efficient people!” 

“Why,” said Leyson," does our 
speech hurt Mr. Zehn, and not hurt 
you at all?” 

The “Doctor” chuckled again, said, 
“My vibration is different from 
its! No two of us have the same 
vibration. It just happened that the 
combination of your two voices hurt 
Zehn. It might never happen again, 
to any of us.” 


“Talking to you,” said Leyson, 
peering into the pot, sniffing the 
soup, “is like talking over the tele¬ 
phone. I wish you’d tell me to whom 
we’re indebted for this treatment, 
and when we can say thanks, face to 
face!” 

Again the “Doctor” chuckled. 

“The time will come when you, 
and the world, will see much more 
of me than is bargained for! That 
applies particularly to you two gen¬ 
tlemen. You will return to that 
world, eventually, to prepare it for 
our coming. It is well that our 
enemies be warned, and properly 
frightened!” 

Leyson and Horton looked at each 
other. Leyson shivered, gathering a 
frightful import from the words of 
the “Doctor,” which he knew came 
to him from some distant place— 
from some place which might be ten 
feet away, ten miles, or a hundred 
miles, or even further. He could 
not see that place. All the clue he 
had was a voice. He and Horton 
were at a great disadvantage. They 
could be watched and listened to, so 
long as one of the mechanical men 
was in sight of them. 

The bubbling of the soup answered 
a current, and drastic need. They 
dipped it up in the cans which had 
originally held it, juggled the hot 
containers in their torn and 
scratched fingers, drank down the 
soup. The Doctor watched them. 
His yellow glow continued to fill the 
place which was, in effect, their pris¬ 
on. Now and again he looked about 
the room, spraying it with light. 

The two men finished their soup. 
Leyson spread the fire, so that the 
smoke would do them no harm, spoke 
to Horton. 

“Let’s get some sleep. I feel I 
could sleep for a week.” 

“You will sleep ten hours, and find 
it sufficient,” said the Doctor. “There 
is no more time than that. Time is 
valuable to us. Good night, gentle¬ 
men.” 

Leyson and Horton stripped down 
to their underwear after the le- 
chanical doctor had gone, and 
crawled beneath the blankets. Their 
first beds in weeks, and both m<*n 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 19 


felt that they were safe, at least from 
the usual hazards of the jungles. In 
an instant Horton was snoring, but 
Leyson did not immediately drop 
off. As the leader of this strange 
expedition, he could not pamper him¬ 
self to that extent, just yet. He 
must try to figure out answers. What 
were the mechanical men being used 
for? There was no escape from 
them, for they could travel through 
the jungles without food, water or 
rest. Were they being used to sub¬ 
jugate the natives? There were In¬ 
dians of many tribes, scattered 
through these jungles. There were 
bush negroes. That mechanical 
“Doctor”_ 

L EYSON sat bolt upright. “That’s 
one of the things,” he told him¬ 
self, almost aloud. “Those mechan¬ 
ical men....why, Indians and bush 
negroes would fall down and wor¬ 
ship them, when their arrows and 
darts had no effect on them. And 
the masters of the mechanical men 
certainly have electrolytic cures for 
everything that makes Indians and 
Negroes sick. A half dozen Doctor 
Einundswanzigs, working among the 
natives, could weld them together, 
happy because healthy, into a formid¬ 
able group of fighters! Then, after 
curing them of their hills, those 
doctors could induce them to listen 
to their human masters. Those hu¬ 
man masters could teach them how 
to use rifles, pistols, machine-guns 

Leyson’s thoughts were inter¬ 
rupted at this point by 'the strang¬ 
est apparition of all. A white, ghost¬ 
ly creature came, in utter silence, 
through the door. It poised, listen¬ 
ing, and Leyson knew that he was 
looking at a young woman. White, 
too. He guessed that her hair was 
golden, that she was around twenty 
years of age. Her clothing looked 
to be scanty. He could make out 
bare legs, and he thought her feet 
were bare, too, though he could not 
be sure. And he guessed that there 
was nothing mechanical about her. 

“Hello, sister,” he said softly. 
“What’s up?” 

A gasp of terror burst from the 


girl. He did not see her turn and 
run, so swiftly did it happen. One 
moment she was poised, there in the 
darkness, and the next moment she 
was gone—and a strange desolation 
possessed Jack Leyson. He was on 
his feet, standing in the door, in a 
second, but in no direction could he 
see her. Only the lost city was still 
alive, if being a-crawl with mechan¬ 
ical men could be said to be alive. 
No sight of the girl, anywhere. What 
was she? Friend or enemy? If 
enemy, why had she been sent? To 
slay? But the enemy had had plenty 
of chances to slay, and had not taken 
them; had even cured the two men 
of malaria. What, then? 

No use pursuing her. Leyson went 
back to his bed. And sleep appeared 
to have fled from him. He lay there, 
looking at the door, a dim rectangle 
of light. Now and again that rec¬ 
tangle of light brightened, became 
yellowish, and he could hear the 
measured footfalls of one of the me¬ 
chanical men, passing the place. 
They were being watched, no doubt 
about that. Had that been the rea¬ 
son why the girl had run? 

No telling. She was simply one 
of the mysteries of the place. 

And then, when he had given up, 
and sleep seemed close, there she was 
again, standing in the door, looking 
at him as though she could see him 
in the dark. And her forefinger was 
plainly against her lips, for silence. 
Leyson’s heart hammered with ex¬ 
citement. She would certainly not 
be so secretive if she were one of 
their captors. 

Leyson sat up. The girl, glancing 
both ways, outside the door, came to 
Leyson, hesitantly, yet proudly. She 
held out her hand in the dark, as 
though groping. Leyson touched it, 
to let her know that he knew she 
was there. She dropped to her knees 
near him, but with her head turned 
aside in an attitude of listening. She 
began to speak, in a language that 
Leyson could not understand, yet 
which had a distinct sound of famil¬ 
iarity about it. He realized then 
that it was English, but a strange 
kind of English—as though the girl 
had not used the tongue all her life. 




20 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“You are not friend of New Peo¬ 
ple?” Leyson managed to deduce 
from her gibberish. 

“No. They are enemies of my 
country and my people,” said Ley- 
son. “Who are you? Where do you 
come from?” 

“Enemies of my people, too,” said 
the girl, painstakingly following the 
order of his own words. “I am 
Shama. I come from the forest, where 
my people live. 

“But you are white. The forest 
people are red, or black.” 

“No matter, my people. No chance 
to explain now. But you must get 
away. Must destroy these New Peo¬ 
ple. They destroy my people, your 
people, all people. They destroy me 
if I am caught here—or anywhere, 
because I am against them.” 

I T took a long time for him to 
piece her words together, make 
sense of them, interpret them for 
himself. The girl, Shama, was fright¬ 
ened, but she was brave, too. She 
was as much a mystery to him as 
was the city of the dead, and the 
New People, and their masters. 

“What is the name of this place, 
Shama?” he asked. 

“Place of the gods,” said Shama. 
“Where all gold is. And stones that 
shine. And evil things are im¬ 
prisoned.” 

“Do you know where the people 
are, like you and me, who are mas¬ 
ters of the New People?” 

“No, but I can find them. I know 
■ the jungle. I am almost born in it.” 

“It is very dangerous. I should 
go with you. Hey, wait!” 

But she had risen as he talked, and 
was gone, like a shadow, leaving be¬ 
hind her the wholesome odor of 
jungle flowers, of health, and cour¬ 
age. Scarcely had she vanished than 
a mechanical man came to the door, 
entered, looked all about. Leyson 
snored comfortably. The crimson 
rays from the robot’s eyes rested for 
a full minute on the face of Leyson. 
Muttering, mumbling, Leyson 
brushed his hand over his face, swore 
softly. The robot went out. Leyson 
waited for Shama to return. 

She did not come back. He would 


never sleep, he decided, until he 
knew more about her. But he was 
quite mistaken. For from pretend¬ 
ing to sleep, he fell into a deep sleep, 
which lasted until dawn came 
through the door, and with it two 
mechanical men with fr^sh meat for 
breakfast. 

The two agents, feeling ravenous¬ 
ly hungry, stared at the two who 
brought the food. But they had to 
accept disappointment. Both new¬ 
comers were mechanical jnen. Just 
once had their masters sent living 
men to them, perhaps because they 
had not entirely trusted what they 
had seen through the eyes of their 
robots, heard through their metal 
ears. Now there would be only the 
robots. 

And, perhaps, Shama. 

Might as well start the ball rolling. 
Lyson said, to whichever one of -the 
robots cared to answer. 

“We’re okay now. How soon can 
we get out of this place?” 

“You are not leaving,” said one of 
them. 

“We are, as soon as we can get 
started.” 

“Try to escape,” said one of the 
robots, “and you will be killed out 
of hand. We have a use for you, as 
we have a use for others. Try to 
thwart us and die, as they will die 
-in the same case! And don’t become 
too curious about your surroundings. 
Men sometimes discover too much! 
To know too much will mean death, 
as certainly as an attempt to escape 
will mean death!” 

Grimly Ldyson stooped, caught up 
a rock the size of a baseball. With 
all his might he hurled it straight at 
the head of the nearest robot. The 
robot dodged. The rock crashed 
against the wall beyond. The robot 
chuckled, as though immensely 
amused! The two robots then went 
out and away, and Horton and Ley- 
son, very silently, went about pre¬ 
paring their breakfast. 

“We’re certainly caught in a nice 
trap,” said Leyson, when they had 
eaten their fill, and were sitting on 
their blankets to wait for whatever 
might come next. 

“Yeah,” said Horton. 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 21 


“And I don’t intend to sit and take 
it, see? I’m going out and have a 
look around. I want to know what 
goes on!” 

“I’ve no yen to fight tanks with 
my bare hands,” said Horton, “but 
if you gb, what choice have I?” 

They strolled out into the now- 
blazing sun, to find the dead city 
a-crawl with robots. But the instant 
they stepped out, every robot in 
sight went motionless. Some of them 
stood, like statues. Some leaned 
against rocks. Some even sat. But 
not one of them moved. The sud¬ 
den silence was more horrible than 
the nightmares of night. 

“Mechanical men,” said Leyson, 
“don’t have corpses!” 

CHAPTER III 

Cats and Mice 

J ACK LEYSON had had 
enough of the mystery. He 
felt well enough to make a 
break for it, or to begin trying to 
find out things. Besides, somewhere, 
there was Shama; he had felt in her 
voice an appeal for help, for her¬ 
self and for her people. 

This new trick, of all the robots 
going motionless, was irritating be¬ 
yond words. 

There must be something 1 can dis¬ 
cover about them, if they keep in 
motion, Leyson thought. By watch¬ 
ing them, I could estimate the di¬ 
rection, even the distance, to the 
communication center. 

Leyson looked at Horton, not dar¬ 
ing to say anything, knowing that al¬ 
though the robots were inert, every 
robot eye connected with the com¬ 
munication center he could visual¬ 
ize; in that communication center 
someone human could see whatever 
the robot could see, hear whatever 
anyone said within earshot of any 
robot, And he had a sneaking sus¬ 
picion that the robots were such 
sensitive receiving sets that they 
could also pick up their thoughts. 
Mr. Zehn had all but proved this 
very thing, yesterday. 

Horton shrugged, but Leyson knew 


that whatever he did, Horton would 
second to the best of his ability. He 
always did. And both men felt re¬ 
freshed and strong. They had weap¬ 
ons, though. That would be a serious 
handicap if they successfully eluded 
the machine-men. 

They wandered easily through the 
ancient city, while the robots main¬ 
tained silence and immobility—a 
thing that gradually strained the two 
men’s nerves until they seemed to 
twang like bowstrings. 

To all appearances, there wasn’t a 
chance of escape. And Leyson had 
no wish to become a guinea pig for 
the potential enemies of his country. 
That, it seemed to him, was what 
they were being slated for. 

Passing through the principal sec¬ 
tion of the dead city, they gradual¬ 
ly approached the cliff behind it—a 
cliff honeycombed with cave mouths; 
at one time in the world’s history, 
perhaps, it had been the homes of 
ancestors of the people who had 
built this city. 

As Leyson moved toward the cliff, 
with Horton close on his heels, he 
fully expected the robots to start 
moving at any moment. That any 
one of them could tear him limb from 
limb, he knew very well. They were 
the most devilish potential instru¬ 
ments of destruction he had ever 
encountered. In the hands of enemies 
of society they could work such 
havoc as the world had never seen 
before. And they already held com¬ 
plete dominion, he was sure, over 
the section of the jungle they had 
been set to roam. How many of them 
were they? That each was as strong 
as many men he already knew. If 
there were large numbers of them... 

On a sudden hunch he paused in 
front of one of the robots which 
leaned against a rock wall. 

“Wie heist du?” he demanded. 
“How are you called?” 

“My name is Sechs hundert sieben 
zehn,” said the robot, calmly. 

Six hundred and seventeen! How 
many more were there than six hun¬ 
dred and seventeen, when a dozen 
could have held this part of the 
Amazon Valley in their metal hands? 
No way of telling. He could have 




22 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


asked, and he probably would have 
been told. But he dreaded to know. 
It was enough to realize that one of 
the most powerful military machines 
the Western Hemisphere could ever 
know, had already been forged here 
in the lost land of jungles and moun¬ 
tains. 

The two men walked calmly to¬ 
ward the almost sheer rise of the 
cliff, while Leyson’s eyes played 
over it, studying it for hand-and- 
foot-holds. 

“All right, pal,” he said softly to 
Horton, “here we go!” 

H E suddenly broke into a run. In¬ 
stantly the robots nearest ex¬ 
ploded into action. They began clos¬ 
ing in on the two Americans. But 
Leyson, with Horton on his heels, 
had reached the cliff and started 
climbing. Could the robots climb? 
He had a fearful suspicion that they 
could do a better job of it than any 
man, but to be used any further in 
this cat and mouse game... .well, he 
simply couldn’t do it. 

A dozen robots were against the 
face of the cliff, reaching up for 
Leyson and Horton, but not quite 
making it. 

“Make for the first cave mouth, 
Rog,” said Leyson. “We’ll get a 
breathing space there while we de¬ 
cide what to do next. Right now it 
looks as if we’d jumped from the 
frying pan into the fire.” 

“But anyway,” panted Horton, 
“vje’ve jumped. We’ve made a 
start.” 

From far below them, back in the 
heart of the city, came a hail. 

“Stop, Leyson! Come back, or I’ll 
put a bullet in you!” 

Leysen and Horton, spreadeagled 
there on the black face of the cliff, 
paused to look back. Standing in 
front of the building in which they 
had spent the night, was one of the 
robots, with a rifle in his hands— 
one of their rifles. Horton laughed. 
There was hysteria in his laughter. 

“Climb, Rog, as you value your 
life!” gasped Leyson. 

“Do you think a robot can fire a 
rifle?” said Horton. 

“As accurately as if the rifle were 


in a vise, Rog,” said Leyson. “If we 
don’t reach cover, we’re dead ducks. 
I doubt if he’ll drill us with the first 
shot, though. They want us kept 
alive—the masters of the metal men, 
I mean.” 

He had scarcely finished when the 
rifle spoke. But even before it spoke 
a leaden pellet smashed against the 
rocks near Leyson’s right hand. He 
stared for an instant at the spot, 
as the hot smell of emery powder 
burned his nostrils; that smell which 
always comes when a bullet hits 
rock. The bullet had struck the rock 
between his thumb and forefinger— 
and that it was accidental he knew 
to be impossible. No vise could have 
held as steadily, at that distance. Nor 
could the human eye have gauged 
such a shot, uphill, making the prop¬ 
er allowance for mirage and the other 
elements which went into marksman¬ 
ship. 

“He could shoot the lobes off our 
ears,” said Leyson. “Scram as you 
never scrammed before!” 

“The next one,” came the bellowed 
voice of the robot, “will take off the 
left heel of your boot!” 

Still Leyson did not pause. Again 
the rifle spoke. Leyson’s left foot 
jumped, almost causing him to lose 
his grip on the face of the cliff. 
Wildly he looked down. The ground 
was now two hundred feet below, at 
least. A fall would mean certain 
death. 

But his hands were both over the 
edge of a cave-mouth, and he was 
pulling himself up. He got inside, 
grabbed Horton by the wrists, 
yanked him in. 

Both men flung themselves flat as 
the rifle barked again. The bullet 
went through the space where Hor¬ 
ton’s body had been, and Leyson 
knew something else: he was re¬ 
garded as the more important of the 
two men, and the enemy would de¬ 
stroy Horton in order to compel Ley- 
son to obey them. 

But they were now out of range, 
and back of them were the black 
depths of the cave. 

They began to crawfish backward. 
Bullets probed for them. They were 
expected, apparently, to rise into the 




Dominion ★ ★ ~k 23 


line of fire, but Leyson had no in¬ 
tention of doing anything of the 
sort. 

Finally, when sure that the angle 
was too great for them to be in dan¬ 
ger, Leyson and Horton rose to their 
feet, turned into the depths of the 
cave, Leyson handicapped by his 
heelless left boot. It was utterly 
dark. No robot was in here; had 
there been, the men would have seen 
the glow of the metal bodies, or of 
the ruby eyes. 

^W E ’ LL look * or some way 
ww into the cave next above 
this,” said Leyson. “We’re free for 
the moment, though I’m still not 
satisfied that the robots can’t climb. 
They’ll be after us in a minute, wait 
and see.” 

“Let’s see,” said Horton, “but don’t 
let’s wait!” 

Leyson led the way, feeling his 
way with his feet, not knowing when 
they might step into an abyss. It was 
like swimming in black velvet. They 
could see nothing, and when they 
paused they could hear nothing ex¬ 
cept the hammering of their own 
hearts. 

Not so much as a glow of light. 
And Leyson was acutely conscious of 
the fact that anyone beyond them 
could see their outlines against the 
light of the cave mouth. They stum¬ 
bled and staggered over the ruins 
of what they knew to be ancient 
dwellings. They fell and barked 
their knees and their shins. But 
they went on. 

And finally a voice said, 

“Stop, please; you’re safe for a 
moment!’’ 

“A dame!” said Horton, explosive¬ 
ly. “A dame, but I can’t see her.” 

“Shama!” said Leyson. 

“Yes.” Then a soft hand was in 
Leyson’s hand, and Horton gasped, 
so Leyson knew that Shama had also 
taken the hand of his partner. 

“Come with me. You should not 
have done this, but I expected you 
would. There is a way out, to the 
jungle, built by the ancients, in case 
they were besieged and cut from 
food and water. I am the only one 
who knows of it.” 


“It sounds like English,” said 
Horton, “but just what is it? What 
did she say?” 

“In brief, we’re jumping from the 
fire back into the frying pan,” said 
Leyson, “or else we’re jumping into 
a bigger fire. This is Shama. She 
made contact with me last night, 
while you were snoring. That’s about 
all I know about her, except that 
she’s white, and terribly afraid of 
what our metallic friends are doing 
to her people. Let’s follow her lead; 
we can’t be any worse off than we 
are, and we’ll be giving our pals 
something to think about.” 

The girl turned to the right, a bit 
further on, and a blast of cold air 
bathed their faces. The way led 
sharply downward. The girl moved 
without hesitation, as if she could 
see in the dark, or as if she had 
traveled this way so many times she 
did not need to see. 

“Her hand feels nice,” said Horton. 
“Is she pretty?” 

“If she is,” said Leyson, “it’s no 
concern of yours. I saw her first” 

Shama laughed. Leyson swore 
softly. 

“Women are all the same, wherever 
you find them,” he said. 

“For which a fugitive gives 
thanks!” said Horton. “Dames are 
realistic. This one may be bent on 
saving her people, but if at the same 
time she can save a man she thinks 
she likes, who’s to blame her?” 

“Your friend talks too much,” said 
Shama. “He should save his breath 
for what we have to do.” 

UNDERSTOOD every word 

M of that!’’ said Horton. “Lis¬ 
ten!” 

All three halted at Horton’s sug¬ 
gestion. Behind them in the eerie 
darkness could be heard the sounds 
of hurried footfalls. The robots had 
climbed up the face of the cliff, were 
in swift pursuit. Looking back they 
could see the lemonish glow of them. 

“Hurry! Hurry!” said Shama. “My 
people will protect me, fearful as 
they are of these metal gods, and I 
don’t think-” 

She broke off shortly there. 




24 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


started running, dragging at the two 

“Hurry,” she repeated. “If you 
fall you can always get up again. 
The way is smooth.” 

“And our enemies,” Leyson 
finished what she had been saying, 
“will go easy with your people be¬ 
cause they need them!” 

“I hope so!” said Shama, fervent¬ 
ly as though she prayed. 

The sloping tunnel curved sharply 
to the right, began to rise. And the 
air was no longer cold, but steamy 
hot, as from the jungles—and Ley- 
son knew that they had passed a 
tunnel which gave forth the cold 
air, a tunnel that must have led to 
cold water somewhere. 

“Faster!” said Shama. “Faster, oh, 
faster! We’ve got to get among my 
people before the metal gods can see 
me. So far I am not known to 
them!” 

Leyson’s heart sank. If the enemy 
did not know of Shama, what would 
they do when they found out? He 
could imagine what horror it might 
well be for her, if she fell into their 
hands. Then the enemy could use 
not only the superstitious reverence 
of her people for the robots, but 
their reverences for the white girl 
herself. And men in uniform were 
not usually very considerate of 
young beautiful women. Not from 
all Leyson had heard. 

They turned to the left, and ahead 
of them was a glare of light which 
caused Leyson to cry out and halt. 
But the girl urged him on. It .was 
only the blistering sunlight on a 
clearing in the jungle, looking un¬ 
usually bright because they had been 
so long in Stygian darkness. 

They broke forth into that clear¬ 
ing, and Shama stepped out faster, 
while Leyson and Horton really saw 
her for the first time. Yes, her hair 
was long, and like spun gold against 
the sun. Her legs were slim, and 
moved with the grace and speed of a 
ballet dancer. She was lovely. Ley- 
son’s heart jumped into his throat as 
he considered her. 

“Faster!” said Shama. “Faster! 
We’ve got to get into the shadows 
before the metal gods see Shama!” 


“Then you haven’t a minute left,” 
said Leyson. “I can hear them com¬ 
ing up to the cave mouth.” 

Shama cried out, pulled free of the 
two men. 

“Follow me, straight ahead. You’ll 
meet some of my people. They will 
not harm you! Pay them no atten¬ 
tion!” 

The girl was gone, like a wraith, 
swift as the wind. Leyson and Hor¬ 
ton could not keep up with her. She 
had vanished into the shadows of the 
surrounding jungle. Leyson and 
Horton had no time to mark the 
place, to note what the entrance was 
like. But it was untrodden, and Ley- 
son guessed that it was tabu to the 
natives, though few of them could 
know why. A tabu that had been 
handed down the generations, per¬ 
haps. 

Leyson and Horton crashed into 
the jungles, to find them alive with 
moving figures. Indians! More In¬ 
dians than either of them had ever 
seen. Small men, some of them with 
pot-bellies, some of them with bones 
through their ears and their noses. 
All with black hair, no clothing. All 
with blowguns and darts, or bows 
and arrows. And on their faces such 
expressions of fear as Leyson could 
scarcely comprehend. 

None of the Indians looked at 
Leyson and Horton. They were look¬ 
ing back the way the two white men 
had come. Leyson and Horton bulled 
right through the sour-smelling 
bodies of the redmen. Men knocked 
aside seemed not even to feel the 
blows. At any other time the Indians 
would not only have been invisible, 
but would have shot the two white 
men for such indignities. 

“Imagine,” said Leyson, “what we 
could do with these people if we con¬ 
trolled the robots.” 

“Yeah,” said Horton. 

“And you can guess,” went on Ley- 
son, “what those who do control them 
are planning to do with the natives. 
Look at those darts and arrows. 
Their tips are black as tar. That 
means every last one of them has 
been dipped in those poison pots they 
carry at their breechclouts! So take 
it easy, pal; in rough-housing these 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 25 


gents, don’t scratch yourself on one 
of those arrows or darts, or you’ll 
never again have to worry about fall¬ 
ing into the hands of our metal 
men!” 

T HEY had rushed through the 
thickest part of the gathering 
Indians. Shama, racing into the 
forest, had called out repeatedly, 
"Tacaditi! Tacaditi!” 

Now Leyson remembered. 

“She was probably telling them 
that the metal gods were coming, and 
that you and I didn’t count, were to 
be permitted through. Otherwise...” 

But he didn’t explain what he 
meant by otherwise. He didn’t need 
to. Horton knew. 

“Far enough for the moment,” said 
Leyson. “Pick yourself a tree and 
let’s see what goes on!” 

Suiting action to words, Leyson 
jumped behind a large tree, Horton 
right, with him. One of them looked 
out to the right, the other to the left 
—to see a most amazing thing. At 
the very edge of the jungles a half 
dozen robots had come to a full stop. 
And all around them, their faces 
abjectly in the leaves and mold, were 
the Indians who had not, apparent¬ 
ly, even seen Leyson and Horton. 
Leyson watched it for a moment. 
The heads of the robots were turn¬ 
ing, and he knew that both Horton 
and himself were sure to be spotted, 
if they had not already been dis¬ 
covered. Knew that, far away, or 
close—just how far or how close he 
must find out before the matter was 
ended—a human enemy was watch¬ 
ing them both, six human enemies, 
planning dire things to do to them 
when they were caught again. Those 
enemies would also wonder mightily 
at the fact that the Indians had let 
the two white men through. 

“Rule the robots,” said Leyson, 
“and rule the jungles! Come on, 
they won’t trample those Indians. 
Gods don’t work like that. Let’s 
keep going. I’ve a feeling now that 
we may out-smart these guttural 
voiced Johnnies, after all!” 

They crashed on through the 
jungle, knowing themselves safe 
from pursuit for the time being. 


They found Shama waiting for them. 
And tears were streaming down her 
cheeks. Horton clucked his sym¬ 
pathy. It was all Leyson could do 
to keep his own arms from going 
around her shaking shoulders. 

“You see?” she said. “You see 
what they do to my people? And 
there is nothing I can do. They only 
tolerate me now. But they believe 
the metal ones are stronger.” 

“Why?” said Leyson. 

“Because their eyes are red. Be¬ 
cause darts do not hurt them. Be¬ 
cause they travel without fear in the 
dark!” 

“Listen,” said Horton. “Leave it 
to Jack and me! We’ll do some¬ 
thing about it, you can be sure of 
that. Why? Well, because my pal 
has taken a shine to you, even if he 
never gets up nerve enough to say 
so.” 

“Taken a shine? He does not 
shine! What do you mean?” 

“Unless he is an awful fool,” said 
Horton, grinning, “he won’t wait 
more than twenty-four hours more 
before telling you!” 

She must have guessed, however, 
from the expression on Leyson’s 
face. And it didn’t make her angry. 
Rather, she smiled, and rubbed away 
her tears with the back of her hand, 
like a child. 

“Take me to wherever we can 
make medicine, Shama,” said Leyson. 
“We’ve got to figure how to turn the 
tables on the masters of the metal 
men!” 

CHAPTER IV 
Whispers in the Dark 

S HAMA led the two men to 
her own dwelling place, one 
obviously built by white 
men. There were chairs, divans, a 
table—every sort of convenience for 
a family, say, of three people. Ley- 
son’s curiosity was aroused. 

Shama, guessing, told him swiftly. 
Both men were becoming more ac¬ 
customed to her English, which must 
have been affected by the Indian 
tongue she was used to speaking. 




26 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“My father and mother came in 
here when I was very young,” she 
said. “I never knew why. But fa¬ 
ther seemed afraid of something, and 
so did mother. Father had many 
books with him. I have tried to 
learn from them. I spoke English 

before they... .before they-well, 

went away. Mother went first. A 
strange sickness. Father could not 
live without her. I was about seven 
years old. I was left alone with the 
Indians....” 

Leyson held his breath as he lis¬ 
tened. Horror gripped him, too, as 
he thought what it must have been 
like for this young girl, alone for 
the last dozen years or more, among 
cannibalistic Indians. 

“My golden hair saved me,” she 
went on. “There is a story about a 
woman with white skin, and golden 
hair....but I’ll tell you about that 
later....” 

“The Sirens story!” said Leyson. 
“Must have seeped into the jungles 
from somewhere, and got all 
twisted.” 

“Yes,” said Shama. “It’s the story 
of the sirens.” 

“Your name, though. It isn’t Eng¬ 
lish.” 

“The Indians have called me 
Shama since I was little. My par¬ 
ents did, too, to please the people 
we lived with. But-” 

“But that isn’t getting us any¬ 
where now. Shama, do you under¬ 
stand the metal men? What makes 
them walk, and talk, and nothing 
hurt them?” 

There was instant terror in her 
eyes, and Leyson realized that Shama 
herself was inclined to credit them 
with being supernatural. His sym¬ 
pathy for her grew. He could im¬ 
agine with' difficulty how she had 
been able to carry on, herself believ¬ 
ing, as did the Indians, that the ro¬ 
bots were from another world, maybe 
even from the sky.... 

“There was a great sound, a great 
roaring in the night,” she said. “My 
people heard it and were terribly 
afraid. But I have never been afraid 
of the night. I know the smell of 
the jaguar, and I can see the eyes 
of serpents in the dark. I can climb 


trees faster than the natives. So I 
went out when the sound was loud¬ 
est. I saw two great eyes, high above 
the cliff where the caves are. They 
were circling, and great white 
winged things were dropping from 
some black bulk between the 
eyes...” 

“Running lights of a plane!” said 
Leyson. “Men dropping by para¬ 
chutes.” 

“Also robots,” said Horton. 

“That was a year ago,” said Shama. 
“Since then the roaring has come oft¬ 
en, always at night, and more crea¬ 
tures have dropped. They come out 
of the west, over the mountains. And 
there is much thunder in the deep 
valley...” 

“Deep valley?” 

“Yes, where the ancestors of my 
people once dug for yellow metal, 
gold. Oh, Zhack, we have made 
things very difficult. You see, for 
all the years I can remember, my peo¬ 
ple have known of the exit from the 
caves, but they have never dared en¬ 
ter. Tabus. But I entered the caves 
when I was a mere child, and be¬ 
cause the gods did not injure me, the 
Indians regarded me as an immortal. 
Now, since they have seen the metal 
men come out of the same cave, and 
saw me racing to escape them, they 
will be more nearly convinced than 
ever, that the metal gods are stronger 
that I am.” 

^^RI7HICH simply adds to the 
W difficulty of our job, 
Shama,” said Leyson, taking her 
hand and stroking it, much to her 
delight. “Now, then, Shama, are you 
afraid to take Horton and me to this 
deep valley you mention? Can you 
get us there without our being ob¬ 
served?” 

“Of course. That’s where the 
shining ones work.” 

“Shining ones?” 

“Other metal men, I think. Not 
like those you have seen. These are 
the workers. They mine for gold 
and precious stones.” 

“Using robots in mines!” said Hor¬ 
ton. “That’s really something. They 
never get tired.” 

“Can you take us there, Shama?” 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 27 


said Leyson softly. “Gold is what 
most meA consider the most precious 
thing, for which they take the most 
chances. Some of the people we wish 
to contact will be there, watching 
the work, or will certainly come 
there, if we wait long enough. Can 
we get there at night, unobserved 
by the metal men?” 

“I can take you there,” said Shama 
simply. “But it is terribly danger- 

“Everything here is dangerous,” 
said Leyson. “But it’s imperative 
that Horton and I make contact with 
the human beings back of all this. 
Now, Shama, I’ll try to explain the 
metal men.” 

He spoke swiftly, and she tried her 
best to understand, though elec¬ 
tricity, remote radio control, remote 
camera-control work, and the like, 
were beyond her. Even when he had 
finished she was inclined to regard 
the metal men as something more 
than human—which may not have 
been far wrong. 

“We’ve got to reach their commu¬ 
nication center,” said Leyson. “And 
we’ve got to get control of it, some¬ 
how. And Rog, there’s bound to be 
explosives in this deep valley, 
wouldn’t you think? How do they 
blast out the rocks?” 

“There is much roaring, sudden 
and air-shaking, in deep valley,” 
said Shama simply, “if that means 
anything to you.” 

“Let’s have something to eat,” said 
Leyson, “and then rest until dark. 
And look—I can use bow and arrows, 
and so can Horton. Can you get two 
bows for us, and a flock of arrows?” 

“Poisoned?” she asked brightly. 

Leyson shuddered. “I wouldn’t 
use poison on rattlesnakes,” he said. 
“Just plain, ordinary arrows.” 

“They’d use poison on us,” said 
Horton, grumbling. 

“Maybe, but so far they haven’t. 
Besides, maybe we’ll get some of 
their own weapons. We’ll just hang 
onto the bows and arrows until we 
get a break.” 

"IjrfcEEP darkness had settled over 
MW the jungles when Shama, who 
had watched silently over the two 


sleeping men, wakened Leyson and 
Horton, let them know it was time 
to go. Her eyes were bright with 
hope. Leyson could not help himself. 
He took her in his arms, held her 
tightly against him. He felt her heart 
beating against him, like that of a 
frightened bird. He let her go, 
looked down into her face. If he 
expected her to bd startled, or resent¬ 
ful, he was mistaken. 

“When father took mother in his 
arms like that,” she said softly, “he 
always pressed his lips against hers, 
like this!” 

She stood on tiptoe, caught his 
head between her soft warm palms, 
pulled his head down and kissed him. 
Horton chuckled. 

“Isn’t it almost time to tell her 
what a man feels like when he takes 
a shine to a woman?” 

“I understand why they did it,” 
said Shama. “It’s very nice!” 

Whether she understood all the 
implications of the kiss, was doubt¬ 
ful, but Horton had his suspicions, 
inasmuch as she didn’t offer to kiss 
him. 

“My people will be in their shacks, 
through the jungles,” said Shama. 
“They fear many devils, and now 
there are the metal gods. They will 
not even know I am out of my house. 
They will see the light go out, and 
think I sleep.” 

“What will they think about two 
men in your house?” 

“Shama,” said Shama, “can do 
whatever she wishes, as far as they 
are concerned. She can not be 
wrong.” 

Shama, a few minutes after she 
had snuffed out the pitch flambeaus 
which lighted her house, listened 
first for sounds from the jungles 
which neither Leyson nor Horton 
could hear. Then she signaled that 
all was clear, and led the way into 
the night. 

“Keep right behind me,” she said, 
“and you’ll be safe from snakes. I 
can see and smell them.” 

Leyson shivered. The girl was still 
barefoot and barelegged. He thought 
of sirucucus, coral snakes, and 
labarias, with horror. But she had 
been doing this twelve years and 




23 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


more, so another night trip would 
scarcely be more dangerous than oth¬ 
ers she had taken, with no one with 
her at all. He could imagine her 
travelling alone, stalked by jaguars, 
ocelots. Well, if he could get her 
away, she’d never have to do it again, 
that was a cinch. 

“How did you know how to reach 
me last night?” he- had asked her. 

“My people brought me word of 
you. I sneaked into the dead city, 
kept out of sight of the metal gods, 
and hunted until I found you. It 
was very simple.” 

Simple! 

Leyson felt ashamed of himself 
and of Horton. They had made such 
tough going of their trip into the 
jungle, until they had been captured 
by Mr. Zehn, when this girl had been 
at home in the forest since she had 
been a mere baby. And she seemed 
all the healthier and more beautiful 
for it. 

S HAMA was leading them away 
from the dead city, and the cliff, 
to the north and east, Leyson no¬ 
ticed. But within a few minutes he 
was hopelessly lost, except that he 
followed her easily, and Horton fol¬ 
lowed him. The girl seemed able 
to see in the dark, to find ways 
through the woods where there 
couldn’t possibly be any. 

After what he judged to be two 
hours of it, he could hear the mur¬ 
muring of water, a sound which grew 
in volume. Shama led the way 
through a tapir run to the bank of a 
dark stream. She hadn’t said a word 
for the last hour, nor had she paused 
for rest. Both men had gripped their 
bows, with arrows nocked, all the 
way, expecting all sorts of horror out 
of the night—though none came. 

Shama led them to a dugout, hid¬ 
den among the underbrush along the 
bank of the stream. 

“There is another stream, leading 
into deep valley,” she said. “A very 
small stream, with trees meeting over 
it...” 

“Of course they need water for 
their work,” said Leyson. “They’ve 
probably got plenty of riffles in op¬ 
eration.” 


“Riffles?” said Shama. 

“Yes. They’re troughs, sort of, in 
which sand and gravel are washed in 
water diverted from a stream, usual¬ 
ly...” 

“Yes, it is like that. Rocks are 
brought out of great holes in the 
valley, and broken to bits by the met¬ 
al men, the shining ones, and 
then...” 

“I get it,” said Leyson. “Let’s get 
going. I’m anxious to see how our 
potential enemies get the gold they 
intend to buy off South America 
with. I’ll row; I’m pretty good at it.” 

But Shama would have none of it, 
and it soon became obvious why. She 
could handle the dugout faster by 
herself than both of them together 
would have been able to do. She 
turned out of the main stream—hav¬ 
ing kept to the shadows all the way 
—into a deep, narrow gut, where the 
water ran deep and still... 

“My people say the water here 
goes down to the nether regions,” 
said Shama, whispering. “I believe 
it may be so. I’ve been here by day, 
and I could see down and down un¬ 
til I could see no further.” 

“Which proves it!” said Horton. 

“Silence from here on,” said 
Shama. 

And silence it was. So deftly did 
she manage the dugout they could 
scarcely hear it move through the 
water at all. But swiftly the walls 
of jungle and rocks on either hand 
moved past them. Not even a star 
looked through the interlaced 
branches above their heads. The only 
light at all came from phosphores¬ 
cent creatures which swam below 
them, and both men, looking over¬ 
side, shuddered at the depths sug¬ 
gested by some of those eerie lights. 

Shama stopped. She whispered to 
them to step out, guided each with a 
quick grasp of the hand. Then she 
pulled the prow of the dugout up, 
moored it with a liana, and led the 
way through the dark, this time on 
a trail by which Leyson guessed that 
the men whom they sought to con¬ 
tact were in the habit of reaching the 
river. 

No guessing what mysterious peo¬ 
ple, from time immemorial right up 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 29 


to now, had used this dark passage. 
Any one of them might be encoun¬ 
tered at any moment, incidentally, a 
fact of which both men were well 
aware. They were on the alert every 
moment. Shama left the path finally, 
plunging again into what seemed to 
be impenetrable jungle, yet which 
she followed easily, and they fol¬ 
lowed her without difficulty. She was 
climbing, so fast it was all they 
could do to keep up with her. 

She came out, at last, into eerie 
moonlight, upon a flat rock. Leyson 
looked about him, hunting land¬ 
marks. He guessed that the high, 
mesa-like pinnacle off to his left was 
the butte beyond which was the dead 
city, and the robots. He could not 
see their lights—and their real use 
was still a mystery to him. 

But Shama, sitting on the rock be¬ 
side him, clutching his arm and 
pointing, was showing him some¬ 
thing he did understand, something 
that made sense. A mining camp on 
the floor of a deep pothole. Leyson 
wondered instantly if the whole pot¬ 
hole had not been excavated by hu¬ 
man hands, back down the lost ages 
of mankind. One day, perhaps, he 
would find out. 

OW he could see black holes, 
three of them, leading into the 
sides of the pothole. There were 
dump mounds outside each one, and 
a series of rifles. And going into the 
mines, and coming out, were constant 
streams of metal men. These men 
were not intended to be seen by In¬ 
dians, or anyone else'. They looked 
dirty, rough. They were metal 
things created for the sole purpose 
of labor too strenuous for natives. 
There was no telling how many of 
them there were. But Leyson felt 
reasonably sure of one thing: that 
each crew, in each mine, was man¬ 
aged by a human being, so located 
that he could see both the dump and 
the end of the stope. 

A table in a niche in the wall of 
the mine, perhaps, with all the gadg¬ 
ets on it needed to operate the ro¬ 
bots—and men working those gadg¬ 
ets, cool and comfortable, waiting 


for the metal monsters to bring out 
the gold. 

The sullen, unearthly clanking of 
the metal men was a ghastly thing, 
there in that hole. Great pieces of 
metal they were. Leyson could 
imagine what a horror those robots 
could be, if they got out of control. 
Senseless, soulless, if animated and 
then allowed out of hand, they could 
work unbelievable havoc. He sucked 
in his breath as he allowed himself 
to speculate on the possibilities; 
what it would be like to smash all of 
the tables, while all the robots were 
working under full power. 

“Interesting, isn’t it?” said a calm 
voice. “Why don’t you and the un¬ 
known lady go down and visit our 
mine?” 

All three whirled to face the one 
who had spoken, and the four others 
at his back. No robots, these five 
men, Leyson and Horton knew at 
once. A cry of fear broke from 
Shama, who was on her feet, poised 
like a wild thing for flight. The 
spokesman laughed softly, bowed to 
her, mockingly. 

“How could our clever guests have 
hidden you so successfully, young 
lady?” he said. 

None of the three could think of 
anything to say. The five men held 
pistols in their hands. Lugers, Ley- 
son noted, on the barrels of which 
the moonlight glowed sullenly. 

“Leyson and Horton, of course, we 
know,” the man went on. “But we 
did not know of the lady. What is 
your name, my dear?” 

“Never mind that,” said Leyson 
grimly, “and keep your distance. 
Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve got 
an arrow nocked, and that you’re too 
close for me to miss.” 

“Yes, Leyson, I noticed. But you 
won’t shoot because you can get but 
one of us, and the rest of us can kill 
you and Horton instantly. Then 
what happens to the young woman— 
who hasn’t yet answered my ques¬ 
tion? Perhaps I should be more for¬ 
mal. My name is Heinrich von 
Glauber. These gentlemen are mem¬ 
bers of my staff. From right to left 
they are Franz Klein, Georg Wegler, 
Hermann Kiesling and Jacob Furst 




30 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


...and all four are kindly disposed 
toward ladies, especially ladies who 
are young and beautiful.” 

Leyson, sighing, lowered his bow. 
So did Horton, carefully following 
the lead of Leyson. They bent and 
placed their futile weapons on the 
rock at their feet. Then Leyson 
came erect like a snake uncoiling, 
and was halfway to Von Glauber be¬ 
fore that worthy could realize that 
he was actually being foolhardy 
enough to attack. 

Leyson dove at Von Glauber’s 
knees, struck them fairly. Horton 
was right behind him, instantly en¬ 
gaged with the other four men. Now 
they were too close for the men to 
use their weapons, except as clubs. 
But as the seven men sprawled on 
the rock in a furious tangle, Von 
Glauber raised his voice in a great 
cry. 

“Help! Come here at once!” 

From both directions, to right and 
left, the cry was answered. 

The adventurous trio had been 
neatly trapped. It was only a matter 
of seconds before they would be 
prisoners. 

Leyson, fighting like a madman, 
struggled up through the pile of 
fighting men. A pistol muzzle laid 
his scalp open. But he scarcely felt 
it. He was looking about for Shama. 

She had disappeared. 

CHAPTER V 
Battle for Life 

L EYSON fought on savagely, 
as did Horton, the former 
handicapped still by his left 
boot, which had no heel. And there 
was a grim anger burning in Leyson. 
Had Shama deliberately betrayed 
them into the hands of the enemy? 

It seemed inconceivable that a 
creature like Shama, ab}e to avoid 
snakes in the dark, to travel through 
trackless jungle at midnight, could 
have failed to know that Von Glau¬ 
ber and his men were on watch. They 
had surprised the trio, and it should 
not have been possible, with the keen 
senses of Shama as a safeguard. And 


now she had run out on them. Ley- 
son swore bitterly, suspecting that 
she, having done her part, had now 
stepped out of the picture until they 
should be captured or killed. 

All that tale of being something 
like a jungle goddess! Of having 
spent twelve years in the forests 
with the Indians! The kiss she had 
given Leyson. The whole thing had 
been a fraud; he and Horton had 
been taken in like a couple of school¬ 
boys. 

“It sort of seems we’ve been had, 
Jack,” panted Horton. 

Then Leyson’s partner had come 
to the same conclusion. Shama was 
a tool of the enemy, a lure for gulli¬ 
ble men. Well, the least Leyson and 
Horton could do was give a good 
account of themselves. They had 
both, as part of their training for 
their hazardous work, learned all 
they possibly could about dirty, 
lethal ways of fighting. They made 
use of them now, though the outlook 
was hopeless because reinforcements 
were coming from all directions. 

Leyson caught one of the men 
with a flying mare, but all his 
strength behind the hold, and heaved 
the man over the rock. The fellow 
screamed. Franz Klein, he thought. 
He heard him strike, far below, and 
then .there was only silence. 

“That’s the trouble with ordinary 
men,” said Von Glauber calmly. “The 
jungles destroy them. Human beings 
are so soft, as you will discover, Ley- 
son! Take them alive, men! I’ve 
work for them to do.” 

Leyson suspected what that work 
would be like, and wanted none of 
it. Two men grabbed him from eith¬ 
er side, trying to get their knees be¬ 
hind his, to spill him. He let him¬ 
self go, swifter than they expected. 
He sprawled upon the reck, supine, 
pulling them down with him. As 
they came he fastened his hands in 
their hair, and then with all the 
strength of sudden fury that was al¬ 
most insane, he smashed their heads 
together. He meant it to kill, and he 
did kill; the two men were limp upon 
him. 

A little sick, he scrambled out 
from under them. Someone grabbed 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 31 


his left wrist, yanking him erect. On 
his feet he teetered for a moment, 
then let drive with a terrific right 
to the nearest jaw. The blow landed. 
The jaw cracked, audibly. The man 
staggered back, both hands to his 
face. Von Glauber had now stepped 
out of the fray to issue orders to 
the others. 

“You with the broken jaw,” he 
said calmly, “since when do our men 
withdraw from a fight?” 

The tortured fellow moaned as he 
lowered his hands and came charg¬ 
ing back in while Horton, now stand¬ 
ing, and smelling of blood and sweat, 
swung so that he and Leyson were 
fighting back to back. Leyson, grim¬ 
ly gleeful, swung another right to 
the broken jaw of the man at whom 
Glauber had jeered. This time the 
fellow did not return to the fight. 
He staggered back to the rim of the 
rock instead, teetered there for a mo¬ 
ment, then went over. Leyson had a 
suspicion that he could have kept 
from going if he had cared enough 
about living. 

There was plenty of cold, calm 
brutality here, which brooked no 
good for the future of Leyson and 
Horton if the enemy took them 
alive. 

“Make them kill us, Rog,” he said. 

V ON GLAUBER heard, laughed 
softly. 

“You underestimate human endur¬ 
ance, Leyson,” he said. “You can take 
far more than you think you can, 
as we have proved conclusively so 
many times during the past five years 
since we started work in this place.” 
Five years. 

Plainly those robots couldn’t be 
the work of a few months, or a year. 
They argued a laboratory painstak¬ 
ingly brought into the jungle in se¬ 
cret, over a long period of time. May¬ 
be even more than five years. 

The battle on the rock was a ti¬ 
tanic struggle. Horton was good in 
a fight; he loved to fight. Leyson 
could hear him" gurgling with de¬ 
light as his fists hammered a man 
to his knees, and Horton’s heavy- 
shod shoe finished the business with 
a swift, deadly kick under the chin. 


Half a dozen of the enemy were 
down, but there seemed to be two 
fresh ones for each one that the two 
of them put out of action. 

Leyson was tiring. Horton must 
also be. It was coming too soon after 
their long period of sickness and 
hardship. But there was no quit in 
either one of them. 

Once, as a series of blows drove 
his head back, spinning him on his 
good heel, Leyson thought he saw 
Shama, far up the side of the pot¬ 
hole, through the trees, watching the 
struggle. But he could not be sure. 

Now many hands were clutching 
at him. His shirt and undershirt had 
been ripped from his torso. Nails 
clawed his skin raw. Fists smashed 
against his ribs, causing them to 
crack with their force. But his own 
fists kept up a steady tattoo on the 
faces and bodies of his enemies. Von 
Glauber kept talking. 

“I’m really grateful to you two 
for fighting back, Leyson. This pro¬ 
vides my men with something to re¬ 
lieve the boredom. Men become ir¬ 
ritable when there is little to do— 
and no women save Indians, whom 
we have to treat with courtesy.” 

Glauber wasn’t just talking to pass 
the time, Leyson knew, but to pre¬ 
pare them for what lay ahead. His 
plans for them were already set, had 
been since they had started in this 
direction after their porters had es¬ 
caped. How far did the metal men 
roam? And why? He was almost 
tempted to surrender in the hope 
that he would be provided with the 
answers. 

Down below he could hear, 
through the sound of the struggle, 
the clanking of the “miners.” The 
work in the three mines went for¬ 
ward as though nothing of import¬ 
ance, anywhere, were going on. He 
caught glimpses of the metal mon¬ 
sters, like ants on those ore dumps, 
working the riffles, getting out the 
gold. 

How much gold had been taken 
from these mines already? 

And what did these people know 
about other mines, deposits of pre¬ 
cious stones, and the like, all through 
this vast unknown area, in which the 




32 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


Conquistadores had heard tales of 
El Dorado? His brain reeled, as 
much with the implications of this 
mechanized horror as with the blows 
of pistol butts and muzzles, fists and 
feet, against his head and body. His 
lips were smashed and bleeding. His 
nose was flattened over his face. His 
whole body was a nest of unbearable 
pain. He could hear Horton groan¬ 
ing now when the blows landed. The 
enemy had been told to take them 
alive, but not to be especially care¬ 
ful with them. 

L e y s o n, before the concerted 
charge of three men, staggered back¬ 
ward, almost to the edge of the fatal 
plunge. But hands caught him and 
yanked him to safety again. His fists 
were still flailing out, but his weak¬ 
ness was becoming a leaden, ghastly 
thing. He saw that Horton was down, 
and that one of the Germans was 
systematically uppercutting him in 
the face. 

Then, a terrific blow struck him at 
the base of the skull, and he fell 
much further into total darkness 
than he would have fallen had he 
gone over the edge. 

H OW long unconsciousness last¬ 
ed he had no way of knowing. 
But when he opened his eyes it was 
to look into the steel-gray eyes of 
Henrich von Glauber, and- to know 
by the myriad of sounds and their 
echoes that he was near a vast room 
of some sort. The clicking and chat¬ 
tering of many instruments were in 
his ears. 

And the moaning of one man. 
Heinrich von Glauber, his face 
grim, said:— 

“The foolishness is over, Leyson. 
Both of you have been treated for 
your hurts; you will ache a bit, but 
you are well bandaged. You can walk 
about, but don’t try anything. I’ve 
plans for you, as I told you. Nothing 
shall interefere with my plans.” 
Leyson managed a twisted grin. 
“The first trick appears to be yours 
Von Glauber,” he said. 

“All the tricks are mine,” said Von 
Glauber. “They have to be, if I want 
to stay alive. My superiors are as 


much averse to the failure of subor¬ 
dinates as I am.” 

“Nice people,” said Leyson, trying 
to sit up. He managed it. Across a 
small, brightly electric lighted room 
from him, Horton rolled on a com¬ 
fortable cot, twin to the one on which 
Leyson sat. Leyson knew now that 
the sounds he had heard came from a 
larger room beyond a partially opened 
door. He looked a question at Von 
Glauber. 

“You can see whatever you wish, 
Leyson,” said Von Glauber. “But it is 
useless to attempt escape.” 

Finding his wrists so tightly bound 
behind him that his hands were in 
agony, Leyson was inclined to agree. 
He knew the first time he tugged at 
those bonds that he could never free 
himself of them alone. Horton was 
also bound, he noticed when he again 
looked that way. 

“Okay, Von Glauber,” said Leyson. 
“Let’s have a look—before grub pile!” 

Von Glauber smiled. “Americans 
never forget food, do they?” 

“No,” said Leyson. “In my coun¬ 
try they still know what it is !” 

Glauber, without a change of ex¬ 
pression, slapped Leyson, backhand, 
across the mouth. A coldly calculat¬ 
ed act of cruelty which, however, did 
not cause Leyson to change expres¬ 
sion. But Leyson said, 

“I’ll probably kill you for that be¬ 
fore I am done with you.” 

“Perhaps, though I doubt it. If you 
do it will still change nothing. Your 
destiny is now linked with that of my 
people, whether you like it or not. 
Come!” 

Leyson had been dressed in cloth¬ 
ing furnished by the enemy, just 
prior to his awakening, he gathered, 
for he wore a complete new outfit, 
even to shoes. 

Glauber led the way into the other 
room. Leyson gasped at the size of 
it. There were panels, like stock ex¬ 
change blackboards, all around the 
vast place. In the center of it—Ley- 
son estimated that if was two hun¬ 
dred feet wide by three hundred feet 
long—was a maze of tables, over 
which a small, bespectacled, hunch¬ 
backed man seemed to be presiding, 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 33 


though at the moment Leyson could 
not see what went on there. 

“Professor Grosboeck,” said Von 
Glauber. 

“Professor Grosboeck!” ejaculated 
Leyson. “Professor Albrecht Gros¬ 
boeck? The professor of geology 
who was supposed to have been lost 
in Brazil’s interior fifteen years 
ago?” 

“The same, Leyson. Many others 
have been ‘lost’ in the same time, of 
course. ‘Losing’ them has been the 
simplest way to get them here, and 
no questions asked. Grosboeck has 
been here all that time. He was one 
of the brainiest men in the Reich. 
Too bad, however, he does not ap¬ 
prove of our leader! We have to 
watch him closely, because of his la.k 
of sympathy for our cause!” 

EYSON shuddered, started mov¬ 
ing along the wall to his right. 
Below each blackboard was a table, 
covered with what looked to be tele¬ 
graph “bugs,” before each of which a 
blond young man with close-cropped 
hair sat, while two men worked on 
the blackboard before them. They 
were setting down data which, so far, 
made no sense to Leyson. 

“Makes me think of the New York 
Aquarium,” said Leyson, “but don’t 
slap me again for belittling whatever 
you are doing for the good of people 
who are already satisfied with things. 
I wouldn’t be able to kill you twice, 
you know, and I’m not good at tortur¬ 
ing people." 

“Your tongue,” said Von Glauber, 
“can cause you considerable pain.” 

“Yeah,” said Leyson, “so it can. But 
it doesn’t seem to make you happy, 
either. What’s that stuff on the 
board?” 

“Geological data,” said Von Glau¬ 
ber calmly. “Notice that the board is 
ruled off in squares. Each square co¬ 
incides with a given area of the ter¬ 
rain hereabouts. The data gives us 
an at-a-glance digest of the essential 
minerals to be found in each such 
area.” 

“And how do you get the informa¬ 
tion? Don’t tell me, I can guess! 
Your metal men! But how—?” 

Von Glauber gestured to the table 


where the “bugs” were busy. Leyson 
stepped closer, and understood why 
the tables were more desks than ta¬ 
bles, while the space where the legs 
should have been were almost solid, 
and therefore packed with machinery. 
Before each bug were illuminated 
squares corresponding to the squares 
on the blackboard. And in the first 
square, which was marked “acht," 
Leyson could see a strip of jungles... 

“I take it I am now looking through 
the eyes of Mr. Eight, wherever he 
is?” said Leyson. “Standing right 
here above the square which is Mr. 
Eight’s control, I patrol his area 
without hardship or danger to my¬ 
self, and do my work—which in this 
instance consists in prospecting for 
gold, eh?” 

“And iron, chrome, diamonds, ru¬ 
bies, emeralds,” said Von Glauber. “It 
may be, when we have conquered the 
world, that we shall wish for some 
other base for coinage than gold. 
That’s our work here.” 

“What a maze of metal brains Mr. 
Acht must have!” 

“Quite! He, and his brothers, are 
the masterpieces of Professor Gros¬ 
boeck. You see, in our early work in 
the upper Amazon valley, we were 
hampered by many things. Even bush 
negroes, when we could get any of 
them even to try to work for us, died 
of hardship, sickness, and snake bite. 
None of these things affects our ro¬ 
bots. And we don’t have to feed 
them. Even the matter of repair 
amounts to little, because Grosboeck 
is really a master mechanic. His ma¬ 
chines seldom get out of order.” 

Leyson turned and looked at the 
little professor whom the world had 
given up for lost, fifteen years be¬ 
fore—and to find whom a score of 
people, hunting the unknown world 
of the jungle, had lost their lives. 

Here seemed to be the answer. 
Right now, busy with his pet ideas, 
the Professor seemed oblivious to ev¬ 
erything. But when he was alone in 
his own room, he must suffer agonies, 
realizing to what uses his mechanical 
men were being put. 

“Don’t feel badly about him,” said 
Von Glauber. “He will go down in' 
history as one of the greatest men—” 




34 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“Because he will have loosed on the 
world tl. - most potent engines of de¬ 
struction? Because he will have made 
it possible for his people to wipe out 
whole nations, overnight?” 

V ON GLAUBER didn’t answer. 

Leyson looked into several other 
squares. Then he turned to Von 
Glauber, who was close on his heels. 
All in this room, incidentally, wore a 
kind of uniform, which proved to 
Leyson’s satisfaction that they were 
military men. He did not study the 
uniform in detail. He did not need 
to. For now and again Von Glauber 
addressed a terse remark to some 
man. That man instantly jumped to 
his feet, clicked his heels, bowed. 

Leyson did not grin. There was 
nothing here to grin about. Right 
here in this room was the force that 
ruled Brazil, this very minute, though 
it had not yet proclaimed such rule. 
And Brazil knew little or nothing of 
it, as far as Leyson had any way of 
knowing—though none could ever be 
sure of all that went on behind the 
scenes. 

“Where,” said Leyson, after he had 
walked slowly down most of one side 
of the room, “is the master map, on 
which you plot all this information?” 

“A military and economic secret,” 
said Von Glauber. “But it covers an 
area, roughly, of a thousand square 
miles, and is being constantly extend¬ 
ed in all directions. Within this area 
we have plotted air fields, anti-air¬ 
craft emplacements_” 

“And at any moment you can send 
your miners to those spots to clear 
the forest, eh?” 

“Oh, no, the miners will be kept at 
their work, moving from mine to 
mine as each is worked out. We have 
another force being created for that 
job, though the miners, and even our 
‘mappers’ and ‘prospectors,’ can be 
sent to that work if we have to move 
before the time decided on in our 
schedule.” 

“More and different robots?” said 
Leyson. “Where?” 

“Another secret, my friend.” 

“You must have thousands of these 
metal monstrosities,” said Leyson. 


“Why, then, do you need to cater to 
the Indians?” 

“So that’s where the white girl 
come from?” ejaculated Von Glau¬ 
ber. “I knew I’d get a hint if I just 
didn’t ask questions. How did you 
know what we were doing among 
the Indians—who can be wiped out 
the instant we desire? Who told 
you? I thought that girl looked a 
bit wild! She gave you the informa¬ 
tion, didn’t she? Helped you to es¬ 
cape from the cave below here? 
Made it necessary for us to call off 
the pursuit of the robots?” 

Leyson shut his mouth like a trap. 
He had given away too much. And 
Von Glauber had told him two 
'things: Shama had not betrayed him, 
and this great laboratory was in the 
heart of the monolith of stone, the 
great butte, which rose above the 
dead city. 

“I’m not fooled,” said Leyson, when 
the silence drew out too long. 

“No? How do you mean?” 

“I know very well she betrayed us 
into your hands?” 

Von Glauber laughed. “You Amer¬ 
icans are such children! She rescued 
you, only to betray you into our 
hands, when all she had to do was 
leave you in our hands! Never mind, 
we’ll get her.” 

“What do you want her for, any¬ 
way? Your robots have broken her 
power among her people.” 

“But not her natural power as a 
beautiful woman,” said Von Glauber, 
grinning. “I’m still susceptible to a 
lovely woman, if she is fresh and 
young.” 

T HERE was no mistaking the ex¬ 
pression on Leyson’s face now, 
and Von Glauber laughed at him 
anew. 

“So she has won the heart of the 
American secret agent, eh? That’s 
fine. She will be a marvelous host¬ 
age in our hands. Knowing that we 
hold her, even a patriotic American 
like yourself, who must see that we 
are certain to win our objectives any¬ 
way, will be amenable to reason.” 

“Just what to you expect Horton 
and me to do?” asked Leyson coldly. 
“To represent us in asking the Bra- 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 35 


zilian government to surrender. That 
accomplished, to ask for the surren¬ 
der of neighboring countries. When 
they hear what you will be able to 
tell them, they’ll speedily come into 
our orbit.” 

“And just when,” said Leyson, “are 
we to do this?” 

“Oh, at least a year from now! It 
will take that long for you to find out 
everything—and for us to consolidate 
our gains and make new ones. A year 
is not long. I believe I could spend 
that long with the young lady with¬ 
out being bored!” 

“I repeat what I said before, Vcn 
Glauber,” said Leyson. “I shall kill 
you—before that year is up.” 

Von Glauber chuckled. His chuck¬ 
le reminded Leyson forcibly of the 
chuckling of Mr. Zehn, so that he 
knew the chuckles were actually the 
same. 

“If you killed me, Leyson, it would 
go hard with your girl friend. In¬ 
deed, as soon as we have captured her, 
I shall give you the freedom of our 
headquarters, with no restrictions 
whatever. That’s how sure I am of 
myself!” 

Leyson started to say that he would 
kill him anyway, even if Shama were 
sure to die as a result—because both 
Shama and himself would prefer her 
death to life among these people—but 
he shut his mouth tightly on a state¬ 
ment that Von Glauber was far too 
likely to believe. His vast egotism 
could not see that any man could be 
without price. He really expected to 
win Horton and Leyson over to his 
schemes, that was plain. 

By the time Leyson had circled the 
four walls of the laboratory, he be¬ 
lieved he had found a way to circum¬ 
vent the whole hellish movement. But 
first he must make sure that Shama 
was safe. 

“I’m stunned by the extent of all 
this,” said Leyson. “I’d like to think 
it over. Food and sleep would help, 
I think, since we’ve got a whole year. 
How much gold do you think you’ve 
mined to date?” 

Von Glauber grinned as he led Ley- 
son back to the room in which he had 
wakened, where Horton now sat up 
on his cot, fully conscious. To Glau¬ 


ber that question about gold could 
mean but one thing: that Leyson, 
bowing to the inevitable, was already 
figuring what he could get out of it 
for himself. 

Leyson intended for him to think 
just that. 

CHAPTER VI 
The Plotters 

To THREE people,” said 
’W Horton grimly, after 
A ^1 they had eaten the tapir 
steak brought to them shortly there¬ 
after, “have ever been dropped into 
quite such a mess. By that I mean 
you, and me, and-” 

“Shhhh!” said Leyson. 

“Meaning they don’t know her 
name, and that therefore she isn’t one 
of them, also that she didn’t do us in 
the eye after all; but I don’t know 
how they could have sneaked up on 
us if she’s the woodsman we know 
she is.” 

“Something she didn’t know. Rog, 
I’ve always heard a lot about German 
efficiency, but I’ve just seen some of 
it. I know how grand their cameras 
are, their binoculars, and precision 
instruments, but this business of re¬ 
mote-control metal men—which seem 
to have everything in them, including 
the ability to detect metals under the 
ground_” 

“What’s so remarkable about that?” 
said Horton grumpily. “They’re run 
by radioactive elements of some sort, 
combined with electricity, wireless, 
and a little of everything else. Why 
couldn’t they find metals as well as 
being able to heal malarial patients, 
be troubled by vocal vibrations, and 
having the power to keep going in¬ 
definitely? I could do it myself—if 
I were a professor.” 

“Like Professor Grosboeck,” said 
Leyson. 

“Yeah. Too bad he’s dead.” 

“He’s the real brains behind this 
place,” said Leyson. “He was ‘lost’ 
deliberately, by his government, fif¬ 
teen years ago. His brains, however, 
are captive brains. Therefore we have 




36 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


to give him due consideration when 
we get away from here.” 

Horton looked at the heavy metal 
door which now shut them off from 
the main laboratory, and shrugged. 

‘‘I supposed this room is wired for 
sound, and that every whisper we ut¬ 
ter is heard?” 

“Probably. Just as the whole lab¬ 
oratory is air-conditioned, to keep 
our hosts comfortable while their ro¬ 
bots work. Just as it is the perfect 
home in the wilderness for those who 
use it. Rag, nothing like it has ever 
before been seen or heard of. Just 
imagine where we fit in. The jun¬ 
gles filled with Indians, bush ne¬ 
groes, snakes of all kinds, fever, in¬ 
sects, everything that is man-killing. 
Add to that the most destructive ag¬ 
gregation of forces ever gathered to¬ 
gether, and you’ve got something.” 

“What?” 

“The thing that’s got us bound and 
hog-tied. We’ve got just one break, 
but it may mean more trouble than 
anything else: they haven’t yet got 
our_” 

“No names!” said Horton. “Though 
it probably doesn’t matter. Robots 
aren’t interested in names.” 

“There are,” replied Leyson quiet¬ 
ly, “as nearly as I could guess, 
thirty-three hundred of the highly 
mechanized robots in operation. 
They work in all directions from 
here. Through the woods, through 
the streams, prospecting, laying out 
landing fields, reporting on tribes, 
giving our friend Von Glauber a 
perfect line-up of the whole show. 
And in his own good time he can 
send them from end to end of the 
whole South American continent if 
he feels like it. Rog, it looks as 
though we were whipped before we 
start.” 

“I’ve never heard you talk like that, 
Jack,” said Horton. “You must be 
getting soft, on account of the kid.” 

O, IT’S just an impossible 
situation, that’s all. Listen, 
what chance do you think an expedi¬ 
tionary force would have against this 
place? Even if the enemy did noth¬ 
ing but stay in its own bailiwick, they 
couldn’t be reached with the strong¬ 


est guns that could be dragged 
through the jungles to be used 
against them. And if they turned 
their robots loose against infantry—” 

“I’d like to see what a machine-gun 
would do to them, just the same,” 
said Horten grimly. 

“I’m afraid we’ll never get the 
chance.” 

Leyson, however, had now conclud¬ 
ed a careful, minute survey of the cell 
in which they were housed. He could 
find no proof that what they said was 
being overheard, nor that their ac¬ 
tions could be seen. After all, the 
enemy had probably never expected 
to have visitors. Satisfied that they 
were alone, unheard and unseen, Ley- 
son backed up to Horton. 

“Let’s see what we can do about 
these ropes, Rog.” 

Horton rose, backed against Ley- 
son, his own wrists being bound be¬ 
hind him, and began to work. He 
groaned with the pain as he forced 
tortured hands to their work—hands 
and wrists in which the circulation 
had been cut off already by the stout 
cords. Leyson watched the door, mo¬ 
mentarily expecting the return of 
Von Glauber. 

“I wonder how he’ll get hold of our 
girl,” said Leyson. “I’m sure he’ll 
make some sort of try, and soon.” 

“The Indians can’t stand against 
the robots, and if he doesn’t really 
need the Indians_” 

“He needs them at first, Rog, or 
thinks he does. After all, they kill 
game and bring it as offerings to the 
metal gods, and the Germans like to 
eat. Moreover, until their position is 
consolidated, the Indians are a con¬ 
stant danger to anyone who enters 
the jungles.” 

“But he won’t mind killing a few. 
Jack. Besides, if he does, that will 
simply make the rest all the more ab¬ 
ject. Son, he’s going to get our gal, 
don’t worry about that. She’s a gone 
gosling.” 

“He’ll find he’s got his hands full, 
just the same,” said Leyson. “I wish 
I could get out of here for just an 
hour.” 

“Swear allegiance to the Reich, and 
you will, ” said Horton, grinning. 





Dominion ★ ★ ★ 37 


“Glauber already knows about what 
your price is.” 

Gradually the bonds which held 
Leyson were being loosened. He was 
in a fever of anxiety lest someone en¬ 
ter before he could be entirely freed. 
Not that he hoped to do much when 
he was free, but if he could get Hor¬ 
ton free too, they could rush the doer 
when it opened, and accomplish some¬ 
thing, if only to get themselves killed 
and safely out of the mess. But even 
that could not happen just yet, be¬ 
cause of Shama. She must not be 
left to the tender mercies of the en¬ 
emy. 

Leyson’s bonds fell free. In imagi¬ 
nation he heard the chuckling of Von 
Glauber, and so certain of it was he 
that he looked around the room again, 
more carefully than before, to find 
whether there were wires or holes by 
which they could be seen and heard— 
and found nothing. But that their 
feeble efforts would amuse the man 
he knew very well. 

He started working on Horton’s 
wrists, as soon as he had rubbed some 
circulation back into his own. And 
as he worked his eagerness mounted. 
Nothing but death could lie beyond 
that door, but it would mean action 
which he must have. This business 
of being cooped up like a rat in a trap 
didn’t appeal to either one of them. 

Horton was free, too. And as 
though his freedom had been a sig¬ 
nal, the door swung open. The two 
had only a split second to get back to 
their cots and hold their hands behind 
them, as though they were still bound. 
Their bonds had been pushed under 
their bedclothing. 

Into the room came Von Glauber, 
pulling someone after him. Someone 
who sobbed as though her heart were 
breaking. Shama! 

T HE marks of Glauber’s hands 
were on her wrists. She had 
been roughly handled. Her scant 
clothing had been ripped and torn. 
Her hair was all awry. There were 
streaks of blood on her face. Her 
legs were scratched and bleeding. 
She had plainly put up a terrific fight. 

“I told you we’d get her,” said 
Von Glauber. 


“They killed two score of my peo¬ 
ple, Zhack,” said Shama. “They let 
the metal gods go against them. It 
was a horrible thing. They gathered 
up my warriors and hurled them 
against trees. They lifted them and 
pulled them apart, as though they 
had been made of paper. They stran¬ 
gled them—and it wasn’t necessary! 
If I knew that they wanted me, I’d 
have surrendered myself before I’d 
have permitted them to hurt my 
people.” 

“Inferior races,” said Von Glauber 
coldly, “will be wiped out in any 
event, sooner or later. Besides, now 
that we have killed a few of the In¬ 
dians, the others will work all the 
harder to appease their ‘gods.’ It was 
good business, really. However, it’s 
nice to know how you feel, young 
woman. You would have given your¬ 
self up to save your people. Just 
what would you do to save the lives 
of your friends here?” 

Her sobbing stopped. She hurried 
to Leyson, put an arm about him. It 
was all he could do to keep from 
embracing her and thus giving away 
the fact that he was free. 

“What are you going to do to 
them? Kill them?” 

“Worse than that,” said Leyson 
grimly. “He plans on using us to 
betray just about everybody else in 
the Western Hemisphere.” 

“And I have personal plans ior you, 
young lady,” said Von Glauber. “I’m 
going to leave you here with your 
friends for an hour or so, so that you 
can realize, by talking things over, 
just how hopeless your situation is.” 

“Let me say one thing. Von Glau¬ 
ber,” said Leyson quietly, “before we 
go a bit further. If anything more 
happens to Shama, I won’t do any¬ 
thing for you, even though refusal 
means my death.” 

“Then I have no choice, have I? 
If you’re no good to me, what reason 
would I have to keep you alive—ex¬ 
cept, of course, that the young lady 
obviously is smitten with you, and 
would prefer not to have you dead, 
do you see? I’m quite sure we can 
get together, somehow.” 

Von Glauber bowed, clicked his 
heels, backed out of the door. Shama 




38 ★ ★ ★ Science Ficvion Stories 


went into Leyson’s arms now, and 
there was no pretense about their 
kiss. She may not have known any¬ 
thing about kisses before, but she 
realized their meaning now, and that 
her life would be forever empty with¬ 
out this man Leyson. 

When she moved back from him, 
after a bit, she explained swiftly what 
had happened at the mines. 

“I don’t know how we were sur¬ 
prised. I think it must have been be¬ 
cause I was thinking so much about 
you, Zhack, that I couldn’t see any¬ 
thing, or hear anything. And then, 
when so many attacked, I knew they 
were certain to beat you. So, I ran. 
I knew that I might be able to help, 
if I were free, because I could go 
places neither of you could. So, well, 
as I say, I ran.” 

“I thought I saw you, far up the 
side of the pothole.” 

“Maybe you did. I ran that way. 
I jumped when you knocked down 
the man who just brought me 
here. . . 

“And his underlings, thank heav¬ 
en,” said Leyson, “would do nothing 
except as ordered, so nobody chased 
you. But in the end, what good has 
it done us? We’re whipped. And 
how long has it been since we were 
captured by Von Glauber?” 

“This is afternoon of the next day,” 
said Shama. “The robots came for 
me just after dawn.” 

“And we’re stuck. If only we had 
weapons of some kind. If only we 
had even clubs, next time that door 
opens. . . .” 

“I’ve been praying that what I’ve 
got will help,” said Shama, interrupt¬ 
ing. “When the men took you away 
last night, I resolved to find out ev¬ 
erything I could about this place, in 
order to help if I could. I got into a 
kind of house, dug under the hill, 
some distance away from the mines. 
I’d seen men go there to get some¬ 
thing that wasn’t very large, because 
it wasn’t heavy to carry. Shortly 
after each such visit, there would be 
noises in the mines.” 

Dynamite!” said Horton. 


"dT; 


ST where do you suppose 
she’d carry it, Rog? Those 


laddies must have given her a good 
going over when they captured her.” 

“Black powder, some sort of explo¬ 
sive. That house in the hill she’s 
talking about is their powder maga¬ 
zine. . . .” 

Horton went silent. Shama, step¬ 
ping back from Leyson, was running 
her hands feverishly through her 
wealth of golden hair. 

“Maybe it isn’t anything,” she said. 
“I don’t know. But from what I’ve 
read in father’s books. . . .” 

She paused, her face very red. 
Then, “They were brutal to me, those 
men. I couldn’t have hidden what I 
have anywhere else. I had planned 
to sneak in some way after dark, 
and get it to you. I’d have kept on 
trying until I reached you, or died. 
But when they came this morn- 

Ihe couldn’t go on. Her lips were 
trembling, and the tears were very 
close again as she remembered what 
the Germans had done to her Indian 
friends. 

Now, out of her hair, she brought 
a small glass vial, tendered it to Ley- 
son. He took it, uncorked it, smelled 
it, touched it to his tongue. Then he 
grinned tautly at Horton. 

“Care to guess?” he said calmly. 

“Nitro, dollars to doughnuts.” 

“You couldn’t lose. If only we had 
a bit more of it!” 

“Oh, I have more,” said Shama. “I 
have several of them, twisted up in 
my hair.” 

“Listen, honey,” said Leyson, “have 
you any idea what would have hap¬ 
pened if just one of those little bot¬ 
tles had fallen out of your hair while 
you were struggling with the Ger¬ 
mans? You’d have blown them and 
yourself clear out to Africa, all in 
tiny pieces. One of them exploding 
would have detonated the rest in 
your hair. . . .” 

Horton had jumped to his feet, his 
face very white. Now both men did 
an automatic and necessary thing. 
They caught up a blanket and held 
it so that k formed a net all around 
Shama. Then Leyson told her to go 
ahead. He made sure there were' no 
holes in his pockets. Then he put the 
vials into those pockets, taking care 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 39 


to put no two of them in one pocket. 

“Now,” he said, “we can blow this 
place off the face of the country!” 

“We’ll also give ourselves a nice 
ride!” said Horton, grinning. 

Leyson looked at Shama, then at 
Horton, but before he could say any¬ 
thing, Horton said it for him. 

“Where’s our patriotism, eh? It’s 
our bounden duty, if we see we can’t 
win free with this stuff, to go ahead 
and blow up the joint, even if we’re 
still inside it. Well, I can go for it, 
if you two can, though I’m sure I 
won’t like it.” 

Leyson looked at Shama, who could 
scarcely be expected to understand 
things like patriotism and duty. She 
frowned, not understanding. 

“Death comes to us?” she asked. 
“It is necessary?” 

“It may be,” replied Leyson, 
grimly. 

“Then so long as I am with you 
to the last, I shall not mind. But 
why should it be necessary for us to 
die?” 

“Shama, what would you do if you 
could have back the lives of the In¬ 
dians who were killed this morning? 
To save the lives of those who sur¬ 
vived?” 

Her shoulders went back proudly. 

“I would die, without hesitation.” 

“That’s it. These people threaten 
a great continent, two great conti¬ 
nents. Their masters already rule 
most of the rest of the world. If this 
place is not destroyed, not only your 
people will perish, but so will our 
people. Or worse, they will be en¬ 
slaved.” 

“Then there is no question, is 
there?” said Shama. 

“No.” 

“But there is still hope for me, 
while we live, that we may get out of 
here, and spend years together, 
among my people,” said Shama, look¬ 
ing at Leyson in a way that neither 
L.eyson nor Horton could mistake. 

“Or among my people,” said Ley- 
son, who couldn’t quite approve of 
the idea of spending the rest of his 
life in the jungles, even for Shama. 

T HE door opened again at this 
juncture, and Von Glauber re¬ 


turned, this time with two under¬ 
lings. 

“So, I’m too late, I see,” he said, 
while both men held their breath, 
wondering just how much he knew. 
“It just occurred to me that your 
lady friend would free you of your 
bonds. Well, have you people made 
up your minds?” 

“Yeah. We’ll see you in Hell,” said 
Horton. 

Von Glauber looked from one to 
the other, as he edged closer to 
Shama. 

“You two seem a lot more confident 
than you did. Could this girl have 
brought you . . . but no, she hasn’t 
much of anywhere to hide anything. 
No, she can’t have bettered your po¬ 
sition for you.” 

Leyson took one of the vials out of 
his pocket, held it up between a 
thumb and forefinger. 

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that, Von 
Glauber. Do you know what’s in this 
little vial, and in the others I have 
in my pocket?” 

Von Glauber’s tanned face went 
deadly pale. He backed away, hold¬ 
ing out his hands in protest. He 
seemed unable to speak. 

“Nitro, from your own magazine,” 
said Leyson. 

“Not nitro,” said Glauber, scarcely 
above a whisper. “Not nitro, but an 
explosive invented by Grosboeck that 
is ten times, twenty times as power¬ 
ful. For heaven’s sake, Leyson, be 
careful!” 

He tossed the vial up into the air. 
It turned over and over, and he 
caught it easily on his palm. Von 
Glauber almost screamed. 

“No! No! Even the jar of strik¬ 
ing your hand may set it off, Leyson. 
Listen to me. We can come to some 
agreement. Be careful with that 
stuff. Can’t you see it must be 
stronger than nitro, or it wouldn’t be 
in such small containers? Don’t do 
anything rash, Leyson. We can make 
a deal. I’ll give you every possible 
break.” 

“Including a break for freedom?” 
said Horton, softly. 

“How can I do that, and let you 
tell your story before I am ready for 




40 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


the world to know?” said Von Glau¬ 
ber. 

“It seems,” said Leyson, “that it’s 
you, and not us, that’s on a spot now. 
Horton, get to the door, just in case 
he makes a jump for it, and locks us 
in.” 

“That would do no good,” said Von 
Glauber. “That thing in your hand 
will open any door we’ve ever built!” 

“Thanks for the info,” said Leyson. 
“Open the door wide, Horton. After 
you, Von Glauber. Send your two 
pals out first, but slow! 

Through the wide-open door came 
the chattering of the countless ma¬ 
chines invented by Professor Gros- 
boeck. 

“Get Grosboeck,” said Leyson to 
Horton, “We’ll take the old boy un¬ 
der our wing.” 

Horton raced to the owlish little 
old man, all but dragged him to the 
tense group at the door. Leyson 
swiftly told him what had happened, 
sketched what he hoped would hap¬ 
pen in the next few minutes. The 
professor’s reaction caused Von 
Glauber to sweat like a hippo. 

“Gott sei dank!” said Grosboeck, 
and there was no doubting his fer¬ 
vency. “Please let me explain to the 
others here. It will be a so very 
great pleasure!” 

“Okay, Doc,” said Leyson, “pick 
up your marbles!” 

CHAPTER VII 
Retribution 

G ROSBOECK cried out exult¬ 
antly. One after the other 
the clicking machines came 
to a stop. Grosboeck, while Leyson 
held the vials in his two hands, and 
those near him who knew, held their 
breaths, explained swiftly. The men 
froze in their places as he spoke. 

“Tell them to put their hands up, 
Doc,” said Leyson. “Tell them to fall 
in on the other side of that bunch of 
tables in the middle of the floor. 
What are those tables, anyway, Doc?” 

“Controls,” said Grosboeck, “for 
the new army of robots that were to 
be used in building air fields and 
anti-aircraft bases.” 


“How many of those robots are 
ready for operation?” 

“Seventeen hundred and thirty of 
them.” 

“Where?” 

“In one of the caves below this 
laboratory.” 

“Has it any opening?” 

“Yes. To the southeast, toward the 
ruins of the old city.” 

“Good. I'll tell you what to do 
about them later. I’m sorry, Prof, 
but I’m afraid all your fine work has 
gone for nothing. Now, Von Glauber, 
I’m going to destroy this place, lock, 
stock and barrel. Line up your men 
and get them out of here. And don’t 
forget that I’ll be right behind you, 
and that if I so much as stub my toe, 
something will happen to the lot of 
us. Get going.” 

Von Glauber hesitated. Then he 
stepped forward, his whole body 
shaking to shout guttural commands 
at his men. 

“If he happens to be patriotic 
enough to die for his country,” whis¬ 
pered Horton, “and doesn’t care how 
many others die . . .” 

“Take a look at his shaking knees. 
Listen to his voice, Rog,” said Ley- 
son, “and you won’t worry. I took a 
chance on all that. Now, Professor 
Grosboeck, you and my friend Hor¬ 
ton here, have a job to do.” 

“Anything, sir, anything!” said 
Grosboeck eagerly. 

“Go all the way around the walls, 
and set the apparatus so that your 
robots will head right out into the 
jungles. Leave the controls set so 
that they’ll keep moving. . . .” 

“But they’ll smash themselves to 
bits against trees, if someone doesn’t 
watch each one of them.” 

“Which happens to be,” said Ley- 
son, “the general idea. Okay, Hor¬ 
ton, you and the Professor, get going. 
Double time!” 

Now Von Glauber was looking at 
Leyson. The man was in a blue funk. 
He could not take his eyes off those 
little vials in Leyson’s hands. 

“Be careful with them!” he 
pleaded. 

“March out your men,” said Ley- 
son. “I want you to take them down 
Hear the mines. My friends and I 
want to get back to our boat. Or per- 




Dominion ★ ★ ★ 41 


haps you have a better boat, hidden 
away somewhere.” 

“There is a gas boat, several miles 
downstream, hidden in the under¬ 
brush. Enough gas in it to take you 
a long way off.” 

“Good. Now, march!” 

Leyson waited at a far door, halt¬ 
ing Von Glauber and his men, until 
Horton and the Professor had joined 
them. The professor, his face gray 
now, was moaning. 

“My poor, senseless New People. 
They could have been so useful to an 
enlightened civilization. And I am 
too old to begin again. They are bat¬ 
tering their poor metal brains out, in 
the jungles.” 

“And we’re going to wipe out this 
camp, besides,” said Leyson. “So it 
can’t all start over again—at least not 
here.” 

“Will you trust me with one 
of the vials?” asked Grosboeck. “I 
am going to cooperate to the fullest 
extent. I’ll stay behind and arrange 
to blow up my precious laboratory.” 

WMORTON and Leyson exchanged 
JfM glances, gave one of the vials to 
the Professor. 

Then they followed Von Glauber 
out of the laboratory, onto a promon¬ 
tory of stone. 

“Call your men from the mines, 
Von Glauber,” said Leyson. “Tell 
them to face every last one of your 
metal miners inward, into the mines, 
and give them the juice.” 

Von Glauber groaned. But he was 
still shaking, and the faces of his men 
were ashen. All eyes were on Ley- 
son, and those vials of high explosive. 

Von Glauber put a whistle to his 
lips. Men came to the mouths of the 
mines. Von Glauber barked at them 
in German. Leyson heard their ex¬ 
clamations of consternation, but none 
thought of disobeying Von Glauber 
They turned back into the mines. 
Then, after a minute or two, they 
came running out. From the depths 
of the mines came the most unearthly 
sounds. The robots were battering 
themselves to shattered junk at the 
far ends of the tunnels. 

“I don’t think I’d care to watch it,” 
said Horton. 


“Nor I,” said Leyson. “Just imag¬ 
ine what the other robots are doing, 
over in the jungles. March, Von 
Glauber!” 

“I can see them,” whispered Shama. 
“The robots, I mean. I can see them, 
hundreds and thousands of them, 
crashing against trees like drunken 
men, caroming off. . . .” 

“Losing some of their works with 
each carom,” said Horton grimly. 
“Poor Grosboeck. I’ll bet it almost 
broke his heart to send them out to 
destroy themselves like that. I wish 
he’d hurry up.” 

“Yeah,” said Leyson, “so do I.” 

“You men know very well he 
doesn’t intend to come with us,” said 
Shama. “Why pretend. He’s only 
waiting for us to get safely away, 
to . . .” 

“Put yourself in his place, Shama,” 
said Leyson softly. “In his place I’d 
do as he wants to do. Only, I’d take 
my time about it. Step out there, 
Glauber! Make for that boat you told 
us about.” 

The men under Von Glauber, joined 
swiftly by white-faced men from the 
mines, marched along the dim trail to 
the platform of rock, slid down it to 
a trail just above the gut of a stream, 
followed it to the river. 

“It isn’t big enough for all of us,” 
said Von Glauber. “Besides, none of 
us wants to go back to civilization. 
You know what it means to us all? 
We’ll be sent back home, and be 
shot.” 

“I know that,” said Leyson. “I had 
no intention of taking you out with 
us. I just want you to show us where 
the boat is.” 

They stepped out faster and faster. 
Now and again one or the other of 
the men raised eyes to the sullen, 
somber butte. In a moment the pro¬ 
fessor might finish the whole thing 
off. But the minutes passed and he 
did not. 

“Maybe he’s crossed us,” said Hor- 

“No,” said Leyson, “listen!” 

T HE three stood, while the sol¬ 
diers marched on. From the 
jungles beyond the dead city came a 
grim, horrible jangling. There was 




42 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


no mistaking its meaning. Gresboeek 
had really sent his robots on such a 
rampage as the jungles had never 
seen before. 

The three moved on, Shama talk¬ 
ing. 

My people will be crazy with fear, 
seeing the robots running wild 
through their hunting grounds.” 

“Until they get up nerve enough to 
go look at one of them that’s batted 
all his spare parts out,” said Leyson. 
“Then they’ll realize that their own 
goddess is better medicine. Mean¬ 
time, we’ll make tracks out of here. 
We may come back some day, but 
it’ll be on a happier day than this. 
You’ll go with me, Shama?” 

She hesitated for many minutes, as 
they walked along. Now and again 
she looked off dotyn the river, off 
through the jungles, and Leysen 
could see that she hated to leave the 
land she had lived in, and ruled, for 
so long. When she looked back at 
him her cheeks were wet with tears. 

“They’ll be happier as they were 
before my parents came,” she said. 
“And I guess I’ve always really 
wanted to see the land my people 
came from.” 

Still no sound of an explosion came 
from the laboratory. An hour passed, 
and Von Glauber called a halt, 
showed them the boat. 

“Get her in the water, Von Glau¬ 
ber,” said Leyson. “Start the motor. 
Then get back out of the way.” 

Von Glauber barked a command. 
The boat went into the water. A mo¬ 
ment later its motor began to bark. 

“Food supplies?” said Leyson. 

“Enough for three, for two weeks,” 
said Von Glauber. 

The three got into the motorboat, 
Horton at the wheel. Leyson dropped 
the bottles overside. 

“You’d save them a great deal of 
hardship, Zhack,” said Shama, “if you 
threw one of those little bottles in 
among them." 

“How so, honey?” 

“My people will not allow them to 
live. Once they realize what has 
been done to them, they will kill 
them, one by one. They will execute 
every last man.” 

“Von Glauber,” said Leyson slowly. 


“was here for the purpose of execut¬ 
ing everybody who opposed him. He 
executed fifty of your people this 
morning, maybe more. He would 
have wiped them out. Poetic justice, 
I’d say, that they wipe him out now. 
I’m not sorry. 

“I wonder what’s happened to 
Grosboeck? Do we have to go back 
and make sure?” 

Even as Leyson spoke, the world 
seemed to shake on its foundations. 
Waves crashed out from the shaken 
shore, almost upsetting the boat. The 
whole top of the black butte hurtled 
skyward, broke apart, fell back. The 
earth trembled as though an earth¬ 
quake had occurred. 

The motorboat described a crazy, 
zigzag course downstream. The trio 
finally lifted dizzy heads, looked 
back. Where the butte had been 
there seemed to be nothing but 
the jungles, and the tops of the 
trees were lashing as though a hurri¬ 
cane were passing overhead. 

“That,” said Leyson, “is that. Now, 
I hope none of your friends start 
shooting darts and arrows at us.” 

“They won’t,” said Shama, “while 
I am with you.” 

“Which,” retorted Leyson, “will be 
a long, long time!” 

The motorboat gathered speed, 
keeping to the middle of an ever- 
widening river. 

Suddenly Horton laughed. 

“What’s eating you, Rog?” asked 
Leyson. 

“I was just picturing the faces of 
the explorers of tomorrow, who come 
into this section and start stumbling 
over the ‘dead’ robots! Wondering 
what stories about a ‘new race’ they’ll 
take back to the world! It is funny, 
you’ll have to admit that!" 

But Leyson, thinking of the robots, 
of the slaughtered Indians, of Gros- 
boeck’s heroic departure from life, of 
the slaughtered Indians, of Glauber, 
could find nothing funny about it. 

And Shama, hereafter, would find 
in life only what Leyson did. Her 
face, lifted to his whenever the idea 
occurred to her that she would like to 
be kissed again, was ample proof of 
that. But it didn’t keep Roger Hor¬ 
ton from chuckling to himself. 




★ INFILTRATION * 



A cone of blue radiation fashed out and caught the animal. Great portion* 
of the Eatet turned red and puffed into acrid smote, but still It came on .. . 


By Clifford D. Simak 


People didn't really believe that 
those weird creatures in the 
"Monsters From Mars" exhibit 
were real. But Paul Lawrence, 
county agricultural agent, won¬ 
dered. There seemed to be a 
strange sickness attacking crops, 
and livestock was being killed 
mysteriously. Could the beasts be 
real? Could a strange plague 
have been imported horn Mars? 
Then the monsters broke loose ... 


( Constable chet new- 

. TON polished his star with 
his coat sleeve, shucked up 
his trousers and started once again to 
saunter the length of the midway at 
the Brown county fair, keeping an 
eagle eye cocked for disorder. 

The barker in front of the “Mon¬ 
sters From Mars” tent was striking 
up a new spiel. 

“Right this way, ladies and gentle- 


43 



44 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


men,” he yodeled. “Right this way 
for the greatest wonder of the world. 
Animals actually brought back from 
Mars. Living, breathing animals...” 

“There ain’t never been nobody on 
Mars,” yelled a heckler in the assem¬ 
bling crowd. “Nobody...” 

The barker silenced him with im¬ 
perious gestures while the crowd 
snickered and chortled in enjoyment. 

“So you think no one has ever been 
to Mars,” said the barker. “Mister, 
your memory is awfully short. You 
remember Steven H. Allen, don’t 
you? The man who landed in Ari¬ 
zona in a rocket and said he had 
been to Mars?” 

"Sure,” yelped the heckler, “but he 
was a fake. He was...” 

The barker drew his face into 
mournful lines, leaned over, assumed 
a confidential tone. 

“Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is 
what the world called Steve Allen. A 
fake! Learned professors examined 
his rocket ship and labeled him a 
fake. And the world took up the 
cry. Fake, they yelled. Fake, fake 
fake.” 

The barker’s voice rose and soared 
...then again the confidential 
tone... 

“But Steve Allen was no fake. He 
really went to Mars, despite what the 
professors said. That is a fact the 
world cannot shout down. And in¬ 
side this tent are the things that he 
brought back... animals that he cap¬ 
tured on the red deserts of the an¬ 
cient planet Mars. Animals that are 
alien to this world...” 

Constable CLet Newton yawned. 
All of this was old stuff to him. He 
had been hearing it for hours. As 
soon as the barker started his spiel 
the planted heckler would show up 
and shoot off his face. It went big 
with the crowd. They ate it up. 
There was nothing like an argument 
to get a crowd together. 

Chet gazed up at the canvas ban¬ 
ners that flapped before the tent. Oc¬ 
cupying the central position of hon¬ 
or was a larger banner portraying a 
dragon-like beast with horns and fire¬ 
breathing nostrils, with a back that 
looked like a picket fence and claws 
that looked like scythes. 


The barker was pointing at that 
banner now and shouting: 

“The Eater. So ferocious that mere 
bars of steel will not hold him. But 
you need not fear him, for we have 
caged him in electricity.. .in a cage 
of heavy netting through which flows 
an electrical current. It is the only 
thing he fears. Nothing else short of 
armor plate would hold him. To sup¬ 
ply the heavy load of power which 
we need, and so we do not have to 
rely on regular power lines, we carry 
generating equipment with stand-by 
units ready at all times. We cannot 
afford to take a chance. Listen to 
that sound...” 

He held up his hand and from the 
tent came “put put put.” 

“That is the engine running the 
generating plant,” the barker ex¬ 
plained. 

“Horse feathers,” blared a throaty 
voice. 

The barker jumped. Here was 
something that wasn’t on the sched¬ 
ule. 

“Who said that?” he demanded. 

“I did,” yelled the voice. “I been 
to your danged show six times and 
I’m here to say it ain’t so wonderful. 
Just a bunch of mangy animals...” 

C HET NEWTON saw that it was 
old Pop Hansen, drunk again. 
Pop lived in a tar-paper shack on the 
edge of the fair grounds and every 
year he made himself a nuisance. 
Chet started edging through the 
crowd. 

“...I got better animals than that 
in my little old shack,” clarioned Pop 
in his whiskey tenor. “An’ I won’t 
charge you nothin’ to see ’em. I got 
a purple crocodile all staked out and 
there are green rabbits runnin’ all 

“The man is drunk,” yelled the 
barker. 

“You’re dang right I’m drunk,” 
agreed Pop, “but I’m a better man 
than you are, drunk or sober. I’ll 
come up and fight you if you want 
me to... ” 

“You pipe down, Pop,” warned 
Chet, who had wormed his way to 
the old man’s elbow. “You pipe 
down or I’ll heave you in the can.” 




Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 45 


“I’ll fight both of you,” screeched 
Pop. ‘Til lick the ’tarnal...” 

On the outside of the crowd some¬ 
one was yelling: 

“Chet! Chet!” 

“What is it?” roared Chet. 
“There’s a fight up at the cattle 
barns,” yelled the man. “You gotta 
get there and stop them before some¬ 
body’s killed.” 

Chet charged through the crowd. 
“Who is it?” he demanded. 

“Abner Hill and Louie Smith,” 
gasped the informant. “They’re going 
after one another with pitch forks.” 

“I knew it,” said Chet. “I knew 
there’d be trouble there. Just as soon 
as I saw Abner took the blue ribbon 
on that bull of his’n, I knew there’d 
be heU to pay. Louie had been brag- 
gin’ all over how he was going to 
get it this year.” 

B UT by the time Chet arrived, 
puffing from his run, the two 
contestants had been separated. Jake 
Carter, elderly and peppery publish¬ 
er of the Weekly Clarion, had 
stopped the fight and was giving 
them a talking to. 

“You boys ought to be plumb 
ashamed of yourselves,” he was tell¬ 
ing them, brandishing a pitch fork 
at the two. “I have a good mind to 
light into the both of you and whale 
the living tar right out of you. Fight¬ 
ing over a blue ribbon.” 

“Dagnab it,” said Abner, “Louie 
started it.” 

“You should have reasoned with 
him,” said Carter. 

“You can’t reason with a pitch 
fork, Jake,” said Abner. “You know 
that as well as I do.” 

“Listen, you two,” said Chet, still 
panting, “you got to cut this out. 
Any more of it and I’ll run you in.” 

“He cheated me out of that rib¬ 
bon,” declared Louie. “The low- 
down skunk got next to the judges. 
I saw him downtown the other night, 
setting up the drinks for them.” 

“I don’t give a dang what he done,” 
said Chet. “I’m here to uphold law 
and order and, by cracky, I’m uphold¬ 
ing it.” 

He shucked up his pants. 


Carter stabbed the pitch fork in a 
bale of hay. 

“Long as you’re here,” he said to 
Chet, “I’ll be getting along. You’d 
ought to lock those two fellows up in 
a cage and let them fight it out. May¬ 
be they’d get it out of their systems.” 

Chet spat disgustedly. “They 
wouldn’t fight with bare hands," he 
said. “Only time they come to blows 
is when one of them has a club or 
something.” 

Carter found Paul Lawrence, the 
county agricultural agent, in the 4-H 
building. 

“Pretty nice fair, Paul,” he said. 
“Seems to me I can’t remember a 
nicer one and I been writing up 
Brown county fairs for almost 40 
years.” 

The county agent agreed. “Entry 
list biggest on record. And the qual¬ 
ity of the stuff is finer than ever. I 
only hope we don’t pick up any of 
those diseases that are breaking out 
down in Iowa and Nebraska.” 

“Is there anything new on them?” 
asked the editor. 

The county agent shook his head. 
“Thought at first it might be hoof 
and mouth. Then thought it might be' 
blackleg. But it isn’t either one. 
They have corps of government men 
down there, but they don’t seem to 
be making much headway. Seems to 
be spreading, too.” 

“They’ll stop it,” declared Carter 
confidently. “Other new diseases 
have broken out from time to time 
and they’ve always got them under 
control before they spread too far. 
Tough on the folks down in those 
sections, though.” - 

“Yeah, it is,” said Lawrence. “By 
the way, how are your roses?” 

Carter’s chest stuck out. “Better 
than ever. Grew some new varieties 
this year. Walked away with all the 
prizes at the show.” 

“I noticed that.” 

“Yes, sir,” said the editor, “soon as 
I can get away from this danged pa¬ 
per of mine I’m going to settle down 
to growing roses. Nothing more in¬ 
teresting than a rose...no sir, noth¬ 
ing more interesting... 

Benny Short leaned his elbows on 
the counter of his shooting gallery 




46 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


concession and glowered at the 
“Monster of Mars” tent. 

“How’s business, Benny?” asked 
the dwarf from the freak show two 
doors up. 

“Ain’t bad,” said Benny. “All these 
yokels think they can shoot. Some of 
them can, too, but not with the 
sights I have on these rifles. Can’t 
nobody hit anything the way I got 
those sights fixed.” 

“You look kinda frazzled,” com¬ 
mented the dwarf. 

“I am frazzled,” agreed Benny. 
“All wore down to the quick. I ain’t 
had a night’s sleep in God knows 
how long.” 

“Conscience bothering you?” 

“Not my conscience. It’s that 
damn engine the Martian people 
have. Claim they use it to run their 
generator. Just props, that’s all. 
Props. Something to get the yokels’ 
interest. But why do they have to 
run it all night long, I ask you? 
Night and day it goes. Put, put, put. 
I haven’t closed an eye.” 

He speared a finger at the dwarf. 

“You know what I got a damn 
good notion to do. I got a notion 
I’m going in there some night and 
smash that engine all to hell.” 

“Now you’re talking,” said the 
dwarf. "Folks probably would hand 
you a medal for it. Them Martians 
have the rest of them all burned up. 
Taking all the business. And just a 
fake, too. Who’d thi ik anyone would 
fall for a thing like that. And while 
they’re packing ’em in, look at us. 
A good honest freak show and we 
haven’t had a full house for weeks.” 

I NSIDE the Monsters of Mars tent 
the barker was closing one of his 
lectures. 

He had gotten to Dopey. 

“And this is Dopey. You can see 
why we call him that. He sleeps all 
the time... or seems to sleep. He 
doesn’t eat much.. .just takes it 
easy all day long...” 

Dopey, a small round ball of fur, 
uncurled slightly inside his glass 
cage and opened one eye. The eye 
was a surprise. It was red and vi¬ 
cious and sparkled with rage. 


“He’s always sore when someone 
wakes him up,” the barker said. 

He led the way to another glass 
cage where rested a thing that resem¬ 
bled nothing quite so much as a prai¬ 
rie tumbleweed. Even in the cage, 
which had little, if any air motion, it 
was on the go...floating and bump¬ 
ing about, never quiet, never still. 

“This is the Tumbler,” said the 
barker. “A bundle of nerves. An 
ideal form of life for open deserts. 
Even the slight winds of Mars will 
blow it many hundred miles a day. 
We had three of them to start with 
but this is the only one left. Even 
our utmost care has failed to keep 
them alive. 

“Despite the fact that these cages 
simulate Martian conditions, the 
Tumbler does not seem to thrive in 
close confinement. To live he needs 
the wide expanses of his Martian 
home. We have drained the cages 
of air until they are almost a vacuum, 
we have introduced ozone, we have 
lowered the temperature. We have 
tried to create for the Tumbler the 
exact conditions of his natural habi¬ 
tat, but still he isn’t satisfied. He 
wants to roam...” 

And now the crowd stood before 
the cage of the Eater, a mighty beast 
of dirty yellow, with razor claws and 
terrible fangs and sharp, wicked 
horns. His back was saw-toothed, 
like the backs of some of the old 
dinosaurs of Earth, and there was a 
metallic sheen to his hide. 

“A siliceous form of life,” said the 
barker. “Formed of silica instead of 
carbon. Possibly he is the sole sur¬ 
vivor of some Martian type of long 
ago. He alone of ail Martian animals 
needs no conditioning to live on 
Earth. He could live anywhere.” 

The Eater coughed boomfngly and 
stuck out a mighty taioned claw to¬ 
ward the glowing net that fenced 
him in, then cautiously withdrew it. 
He’d touched that net before. 

Benny Short cautiously raised the 
edge of the tent at <he rear of the 
Martian show. The interior was 
dark... dark except for a strange 
flicker of radiance from the operating 
engine. 

No one seemed to be there in the 




Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 47 


dark. Except for the engine, every¬ 
thing was quiet. 

The last of the lights had gone out 
on the midway fronts. The crowd 
had gone home. From far away came 
the droning of a car. 

Benny hitched forward easily, 
drew himself inside. Crouching, he 
reached a hand under the canvas, 
hauled in a heavy sledge. Still 
crouching, he weighted it in his 
hand. 

“I’ll get some sleep tonight,” he 
said softly, grinning in the darkness. 

F DOT by foot he made his way 
forward, took a stance before 
the dimly seen machine. Easily he 
slung up the sledge, heaved it high 
above his head, smashed it down. 

There was a brittle crash as if the 
engine had been shattered into 
shards. The strange flicker of radi¬ 
ance flared and mounted, seeming to 
come from nowhere... and suddenly 
was a sheet of brilliance that for an 
instant silhouetted the concession¬ 
aire and his sledge against the can¬ 
vas background and then, as he 
turned to flee, reached out and 
smothered him. 

In the front part of the tent the 
Eater jerked to stark attention, saw 
the flame flicker and die in the net 
around him. 

With a cough of triumph he lunged 
at the netting. It parted and he 
plowed onward, snapped off a tent 
pole, ripped through the canvas wall, 
trotted cockily down the center of 
the midway. 

Chet Newton, making his final 
rounds before he went home, saw 
the thing coming toward him, hauled 
frantically at the old six-shooter in 
his belt. 

The first shot missed. The second 
struck the beast. Chet knew it struck 
him. He heard it strike and ricochet 
wickedly off into the night. He fired 
again and again, the bullets sliding 
off the gleaming coat and screaming 
out over the fairgrounds. 

With a yelp of panic, Chet fled. 
He tore his way up the embankment 
to the race course, spurted swiftly 
for the grandstand. Halfway there, 
he stopped and looked back. 


There was no sign of the Eater. 

Sitting on the steps of his tar-pa¬ 
per shack, Pop Hansen had just fin¬ 
ished one bottle of moonshine, was 
reaching under the steps to get 
another. 

Then came the sound of shots 
down on the fairgrounds. He pricked 
up his earsr 

“Some sort of ruckus down there,” 
he hiccoughed. He essayed to rise 
from the steps, lost his balance and 
fell back. 

“Oh, well,” he pronounced judi¬ 
ciously, “I’ve had enough fun for 
one day.” 

He groped anxiously for the bot¬ 
tle, finally found it and hauled it 
out. 

With a crash the fairgrounds’ 
fence came down and the Eater came 
through. He just grazed the tar¬ 
paper shack and went on into the 
woods, taking down a couple of 
trees that stood in his way. 

Eyes staring glassily, Pop solemn¬ 
ly replaced the bottle, still unopened. 

“When they get that big,” he told 
himself regretfully, “it’s time to quit 
the hooch.” 

Constable Newton was in Sheriff 
Alf Tanner’s office, telling him what 
had happened, when the man burst 
into the office. 

“I’m the owner of the Monsters 
from Mars show out at the fair,” he 
gasped. “The Eater is loose!” 

“So Chet’s been telling me," said 
Sheriff Alf. 

“My name,” said the man, “is Wil¬ 
liam F. Howard. I got here as quick 
as I could. The animal is dangerous. 
We have to round it up...” 

The sheriff eyed him suspiciously. 

“Just what kind of an animal is 
this?” 

“ ’Tain’t no animal from Mars,” de¬ 
clared Chet. “That’s just a lot of 
hokum. No one’s ever been to Mars.” 

“No, of course,” said Howard. “It’s 
not an animal from Mars. But it 
really is a most extraordinary animal. 
From Patagonia. A friend of mine 
secured it for me. Probably it’s a 
survival from the age of dinosaurs. 
There’s some wild country down 
there...” 

“That sounds fishy to me,” said 




48 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


Chet. “Seems if it was a sur... a 
surv...well, whatever you said it 
was, that some museum or zoo would 
have got it instead of you.” 

“What difference does it make?” 
raged Howard. “Here we stand ar¬ 
guing when we should be trying to 
catch it.” 

The telephone rang, sharply, per¬ 
sistently. 

The sheriff picked it up. 

“Sheriff speaking,” he said, in his 
best dignity-of-office voice, 

A high-pitched woman’s voice cut 
into the room. 

“This is Mrs. Jones. Over on the 
old Blackburn place. You gotta get 
right over here, Sheriff. Something’s 
out in the barnyard trying to tear 
down the barn. It’s already gone 
through the chicken house. Some¬ 
thing big and awful. Tommy’s gone 
out with a gun, though I tried to 
keep him in...” 

“I’ll be right out,” the sheriff 
yelled. 

He wheeled from the phone. 

“It’s over at Tommy Jones’ place,” 
he said. “We got to get a hustle on. 
Chet, you get the machine gun and 
let’s get going...” 

IgteUT when they got there the 
.M V thing was gone. It had left the 
place a shambles. One side was 
ripped out of the barn and inside a 
dozen milch cows and three horses 
were slumped in their stanchions and 
stalls. The animals were dead. They 
looked like punctured balloons. Each 
bore a single wound. 

The pigs, in their pasture, were 
the same and all about the barnyard 
lay the fluffy rags of feathers that 
once had been chickens. 

Mrs. Jones was wailing and wring¬ 
ing her hands. 

“All my best pullets,” she 
screamed. “And I worked so hard 
to raise them. Chasing them in and 
out of the rain so they wouldn’t 
drown and fixing up the coops so the 
skunks couldn’t get at them.” 

“I’m going to have the law on 
somebody for this,” stormed Jones. 
“I’m going to find out where that 
thing came from and I’m going to 
make somebody pay...” 


“The animal is mine,” said How¬ 
ard. “It escaped from my show up 
at the fairgrounds. I’m sure we can 
reach some settlement.” 

“You bet we’ll reach some settle¬ 
ment,” Jones ranted. “How would 
you like a bunch of knuckles right 
smack in the puss?” 

“Cut it out, Tommy,” commanded 
Sheriff Alf. “Mr. Howard has told 
you he would pay. What more do 
you want?” 

“I’m going into town with you,” 
said Jones. I’m going to slap an in¬ 
junction on his show. I’m going to 
fix it so he can’t move a foot until 
he’s paid me every dime he owes me. 
Look at that barn. Cost a couple, 
three hundred bucks to fix that up 
and...” 

“And don’t forget my pullets. 
Tommy,” wailed Mrs Jones. 

The sheriff was nodding with 
weariness when morning came. 

It had been a strenuous night. 
They -had tracked the Eater across 
three stubble fields, through a field 
of corn in which he had left a broad, 
unmistakable path. Then the trail 
had led into Kinney swamp. After 
floundering through the muck and 
mud for two hours, they finally had 
lost the tracks and given up. 

Now the wires were humming, call¬ 
ing for help from the state capital. 
The newspapers at Minneapolis had 
besieged the sheriff with calls. The 
Associated Press and United Press 
wanted statements. 

The sheriff mopped his brow and 
glared at the telephone, daring it to 
ring again. 

Feet pounded in the hall outside 
and Abner Hill stalked into the of¬ 
fice. 

“Howdy,” said Sheriff Alf. “What 
gets you up so early, Abner?” 

Abner was fit to be tied. The sher¬ 
iff could see that. 

“I want you to go out and haul in 
Louie Smith,” he snapped. 

“Now, wait,” said the sheriff. “I 
can’t do that without no warrant. I 
know you fellows had a set-to up at 
the fair the other day, but you 
can’t...” 

“He poisoned my bull,” stormed 
Abner. “The bull is dead...dead of 




Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 49 


poisoning and there ain’t nobody but 
Louie could have done it. He’s sore 
because I got that blue ribbon after 
he’d bragged all over the county he 
was going to get it.” 

“How do you know Louie did it?” 

“Stands to reason he did. Nobody 
else is sore at me. And someone 
poisoned that bull.” 

The telephone snarled at the sher¬ 
iff. 

“Hello. What now?” 

“This is Paul Lawrence, Sheriff,” 
came the voice of the county agent. 
“Something’s funny out at the cattle 
barns. Somebody has poisoned a lot 
of stock.” 

“Abner Hill is here now,” said the 
sheriff. “Says his prize bull was poi¬ 
soned. Seems to think Louie Smith 
might have done it.” 

“Couldn’t have been Louie,” ar¬ 
gued the county agent. “Because his 
bull is dead, too.” 

“All right,” said the sheriff. “I’ll 
come up.” 

T HE phone rang again. “Well, 
what do you want?” Sheriff Alf 
bawled. 

“This is Chet. Seems we been 
missing something. We got a mur¬ 
der on our a hands.” 

“A murder!” 

“Yep. Dead feller in the Martian 
tent. Burned black as a boot. Pretty 
nigh scorched to a cinder. He’s lay¬ 
ing alongside some busted machin¬ 
ery. Looks like he might have bust¬ 
ed it himself. Sledge hammer right 
beside him.” 

“Who is he?” 

“Don’t know. But the jasper next 
door to the tent, the feller that ran 
the shooting gallery, is missing. 
Might be him. And that’s not all...” 
“NO?” 

“No, it ain’t. There aren’t any ani¬ 
mals in them cages. Just little heaps 
of ashes. And I found some 
trunks...” 

“Of course,” said the sheriff. 
“Show people live out of trunks.” 

“But just you wait till you hear 
what I found in them. One of them 
was filled with a whole hell’s slew of 
little bottles... the kind doctors car¬ 
ry around with them...” 


“Phials?” 

“That’s it... that’s what they are. 
And all of them are filled with 
messy-looking stuff. Another trunk 
was just oozing with bugs. All kinds 
of bugs. Packed away, neat and snug, 
in little compartments.” 

“Well, I’ll be damned,” said the 
sheriff. “What would anyone be 
wanting with that many bugs?" 

“Search me,” said Chet. “Maybe 
you better come up and have a look 
for yourself. Maybe you could get 
Joe Saunders, over at the garage, to 
come up with you. Joe might know 
what kind of a machine the dead fel¬ 
ler smashed. Sort of funny-looking 
contraption.” 

“O. K.,” said the sheriff, hanging 
up. 

“And this was the day,” he said to 
himself, “that I was going fishing.” 

Night had fallen. The sheriff sat 
with his feet up on his desk, hat 
pulled over his eyes, snores issuing 
from under it. 

Chet was playing solitaire. 

Feet clumped swiftly up the stairs 
and into the corridor. Paul Law¬ 
rence rushed into the office, a map 
clutched in his hand. 

“Hey, Alf!” he yelled. “Wake up. 
I got an idea!” 

The sheriff’s feet clopped off the 
desk and onto the floor. He snatched 
his hat off his face and blinked. 

“Dang it,” he complained, “can’t 
you leave me alone? Seems like I 
ain’t had a minute’s peace for days. 
Newspapermen and crime bureau 
men swarming all over the place, pes¬ 
tering a fellow.” 

“But look here,” said the county 
agent. “Just take a look at this map.” 

He spread it on top of the desk. It 
showed the middle western states. 
Across it a red line snaked across 
Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minne¬ 
sota. Several towns were ringed 
with red. 

“Can’t make head nor tail of it,” 
said the sheriff, squinting with sleep- 
rimmed eyes. “Are you sure you’re 
feeling all right, Paul?” 

“Certainly I am,” said the county 
agent. “That red line is the route 
travelled by the carnival, the outfit 
up at the fairgrounds. Those town** 




50 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


circled in red are where the diseases 
have started. Look, Junction City, in 
Kansas. Disease has wiped out al¬ 
most all of the livestock there. The 
wheat is ruined by strange fungi. 
Insects are playing hell with the 
fruit and corn.” 

H IS finger ran along the red 
trail. 

“See, we jump all these towns 
where the carnival played until we 
reach Sabetha, then up into Nebraska, 
skipping towns until we come to 
Nebraska City. At both of these 
places the same thing happened as 
at Junction City. Then over into 
Iowa...” 

“Wait a minute,” yelped the sher¬ 
iff. “Maybe you got something there. 
You think the same thing is happen¬ 
ing here.” 

The county agent’s face was grim. 
“I know it is. Almost all the live¬ 
stock at the fair is dead. One man 
took his cattle home in a hurry this 
morning, figuring he might save 
them. His whole herd is sick now. 
He was just in to see me. He’s 
afraid he’s going to lose everything 
he has. 

“And this morning Jake Carter 
came in, madder than a wet hen. He’d 
found some funny kind of bugs on 
his roses. I sent him to St. Paul 
with some of them. Thought maybe 
the University Farm boys up there 
might be able to identify them.” 

“And you think the carnival has 
something to do with it?” 

Lawrence slapped the map with 
the back of his hand. 

“It’s all there, Alf. It hasn’t hap¬ 
pened every place the carnival has 
been, but every place it has happened 
the carnival has played. There could 
be a connection.. .1 think there is.” 

Chet dropped his cards and came 
over to the table. 

“Might be something to it, Sher¬ 
iff,” he said. “Remember them bugs 
I found in the trunk. And those 
phials might have been cultures. Dis¬ 
ease cultures.” 

“Grab that chap who was running 
the Mars show,” suggested the coun¬ 
ty agent, “and you might find out 
something.” 


“Grab him!” yelled the sheriff. 
“What do you think I been trying 
to do all day? We ain’t seen hide 
nor hair of him since this morning. 
After we got back from chasing that 
critter of his’n he stepped out. Said 
he was going to get a cup of coffee. 
We ain’t seen him since.” 

“It sure looks screwy to me,” said 
Chet. “Why, even that machinery in 
the tent. Supposed to be an engine 
and a generator, least ways that’s 
what he told the customers. A gen¬ 
erator to supply juice to keep the 
Eater caged. But Joe Saunders 
looked it over, what was left of it, 
and he says it ain’t like no generator 
he ever saw before. In fact, Joe says 
it ain’t like anything he ever saw 
before.” 

The phone rang. The sheriff 
reached for it. 

“It’s you, Paul. Long distance. 
Jake calling. Girls over at Central 
must have figured you would be 
here.” 

The county agent picked up the 
instrument. 

“Hello,” he said. “That you, 
Jake? What did you find out?” 

“I got them running around in cir¬ 
cles,” said the editor. “They can’t 
believe their eyes. Say they never 
saw nothing like them bugs. They 
say...” he lowered his voice.. .“they 
say that if they didn’t know it was 
impossible they’d believe those bugs 
came from another planet. They 
don’t fit in with nothing ever found 
on earth. They been trying...” 

Central’s voice cut in. “Sorry. 
Would you mind? An urgent call 
for the sheriff.” 

“Certainly not,” said Paul. “It’s 
for you, Alf.” 

The sheriff took it. 

“Sheriff,” yelled the voice. “This 
is Louie Smith. Hell’s broke loose 
out here. That Martian animal just 
went through my barnyard like a 
whirlwind through a strawstack. 
Didn’t miss a single thing. And now 
there’s something going on down in 
the south forty. Funny calls. Like 
nothing no one’s ever heard before. 
Makes a man’s blood run cold to lis¬ 
ten.” 

“You stay inside, Louie,” shouted 




Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 51 


the sheriff. “Just stick tight. We’ll 
be there soon as four wheels can get 
us there.” 

T HE calls in the south forty were 
enough to chill one’s blood. Ut¬ 
terly weird, they ululated into the 
star-sprinkled sky, seemed filled with 
all the rage and terror that the world 
had ever known. And there was 
about them an unearthliness that 
made a man’s teeth chatter and 
chilled the marrow in his bones. 

Chet cuddled the sub-machine gun 
against his chest as they advanced 
across the field. 

“Just let me get one crack at what- 
ever’s making all that hullabaloo,” 
he said, “and I’ll guarantee I’ll pipe 
it down. Did you ever hear such 
God-awful goings-on in all your 
life?” 

“You shut your trap, Chet,” 
warned the sheriff. “Don’t want to 
scare it off.” 

The dreadful wailing rose again, 
this time with a sinister and insistent 
note. 

The sheriff hissed a warning. A 
tree-studded knoll stood at the lower 
end of the field and the sheriff point¬ 
ed at it. 

A man stood on the knoll, outlined 
against the rising moon. 

The men in the field crouched and 
watched. The man stood motionless 
and from the direction of the knoll 
came the alien caterwauling. 

“Do you suppose he could be doing 
that?” whispered the county agent. 
From the lower edge of the field 
something was advancing toward the 
knoll. Serrated back and twin horns 
bobbed and weaved as the creature 
trotted forward. White teeth shone 
viciously in the moonlight and the 
hide of the thing seemed to strike 
sparks where the moon beams hit it. 

Chet raised the gun to his shoul¬ 
der. “Shall I let him have it, sheriff?” 

“Wait,” said the sheriff. “It’s the 
Eater. We want to make sure of 
him.” 

The Eater was climbing the knoll 
now and the man still stood there, 
although the calls had ceased. 

“Why doesn’t the damn fool run?” 
cried the county agent. 


But instead of running the man 
was walking down the knoll toward 
the Eater and to the ears of the wait¬ 
ing men came soft, -ooing calls, the 
kind of talk a kind man reserves 
for his animals. As if the Eater 
might have been a pet the man was 
trying to coax home. 

Both the man and • the Eater 
stopped, only a few yards separating 
them, the man still making the coax¬ 
ing, affectionate sounds. The Eater 
pawed the ground, arched his back. 
The man moved forward slowly, 
hands outstretched, still talking to 
the animal. 

And then the Eater charged. The 
man turned, started to run, tripped 
and fell. 

Chet was running forward, yelling, 
the gun pressed against his hip. The 
sheriff and county agent followed. 

They saw the man flip over, roll 
away from the charge and struggle 
to his knees. The Eater skidded to 
turn, was charging back. But the 
man had something in his hand, was 
aiming it at the Eater. A cone of 
blue radiance lashed out and caught 
the animal. Great portions of the 
Eater turned red and puffed into 
acrid smoke. The blue cone still 
bore at the beast but it still came on. 

The night echoed to the thud as 
the battering ram of a head caught 
the man and tossed him. Strange 
rasping, tearing sounds ensued as the 
Eater reared and trampled the fallen, 
broken thing. 

There was no outcry from the bat¬ 
tered figure on the ground, no sound 
of rage from the attacking Eater... 
just those terrible rending sounds as 
gleaming hoofs raced and smashed. 

B UT the dull red glow set by the 
blue cone spread upon the Eat¬ 
er’s body, spread like swiftly creep¬ 
ing fire.. .although there was no 
smell of burning flesh. . .merely acrid 
smoke that steamed and eddied above 
the knoll, rising into the clear blue 
of the night. 

Charging up the slope, the three 
men saw the Eater stagger away 
from the mangled body, slump into a 
heap of something that looked for 




52 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


all the world like a heap of molten 
metal. 

The man was stretched on the 
ground, body ripped apart, skull 
cracked open. One arm, torn from 
its socket, lay yards away. One leg 
was twisted off at the knee. 

And out of the broken skull came 
something... something that was 
black and loathesome and many 
armed. Something that stared at the 
three with terrible eyes of angry red. 

For one long moment it watched 
them, then slowly crawled back into 
the skull again. The man's body 
writhed and twisted, finally gained a 
sitting position. The jaw moved 
slowly, awkwardly. Distorted sounds 
came out of the wagging jaws, sounds 
that tried to be words and failed. 

Then the body flopped down again 
and the loathesome thing scuttled 
from the smashed brain case. It dart¬ 
ed rapidly away, moving like a fur¬ 
tive crawfish, a terrible, repulsive 
alien thing that made one’s gorge rise 
by the very sight of it. 

Chet’s gun snapped to his shoulder 
and the field and woods reverberated 
with its yammering. The black 
thing thrashed and bounced to the 
impact of the bullets and then lay 
still. 

The sheriff turned angrily on the 
constable. “Damn you, Chet, what 
did you do that for?” 

Chet lowered the gun and stared at 
the thing with revulsion on his face. 

“It gave me the creeps,” he said. 

The county agent said: “Perhaps 
it’s better that he did.” 

“What do you mean by that?” de¬ 
manded the sheriff. 

“Take a look at that body...the 
man’s body, I mean. Do you recog¬ 
nize it?” 

The sheriff looked. The moon 
shone full upon the broken features. 

“Howard!” exclaimed the sheriff. 
“William F. Howard. The owner of 
the Martian show!” 

The sheriff’s jaw hung slack. “Paul, 
it can’t be that! It was all just a 
fake. Nobody’s ever been to Mars!” 

“Perhaps not,” said the county 
agent. “But that doesn’t mean the 
Martians haven’t come to Earth.” 

The thing seemed less plausible, 


more fantastic, back in the sheriff’s 
lights. ..but the proof was there. 

“Examine that body,” said the 
county agent. “A clever thing of 
steel and plastics. Intricate machin¬ 
ery in it, too. Until a few hours ago 
it passed for a man who called him¬ 
self William F. Howard. You talked 
to him, Sheriff. And so did Chet. 
He fooled you both. He fooled ev¬ 
eryone he talked to. Everyone 
thought he was a man. And yet he 
wasn’t...he was just a machine to 
house that filthy thing Chet killed,” 
The sheriff wiped his brow. “Do 
you really think that thing was a 
Martian, Paul? That the show really 
was a Martian show?” 

“Perhaps,” said the county agent. 
“If it was it was a clever way to mas¬ 
querade. Announce yourself as some¬ 
thing grotesque enough, impossible 
enough and you can be that thing 
and no one will believe you.” 

“But look here,” Chet broke in, 
“what would them Martians be doing 
traipsing all over with a show? If 
they wanted us to believe they were 
Martians they could have gone to 
some of these here professors and 
proved it and if they didn’t want us 
to believe it...” 

T HE county agent shook his head 
wearily. “Who can tell how an 
alien brain would work? Or what 
purposes an alien brain might hold? 
Looking at it the way a human being 
would look at it, a fifth column 
might be the answer. A fifth column 
from Mars.. .trying to soften Earth 
up before they took us over. That 
would fit. Enough diseases, enough 
strange insects removed from their 
natural enemies, enough fungi would 
do the trick. They could starve us 
out...have us beaten before the first 
war-rocket blasted off from Mars. 

“Perhaps they would wipe out 
some Earth species with their dis¬ 
eases and their insects, establish 
some of their own on Earth. Most 
of them probably couldn’t adapt 
themselves to Earth conditions, but 
some of them could. Given time, the 
Martians could transform parts of 
Earth into a little Mars.. .weeding 




Infiltration ★ ★ ★ 53 


out Earth life, replacing it with 
Martian life. Even now we can’t be 
sure. Maybe the work is further 
progressed than we can guess. May¬ 
be some of our unwanted, noxious 
plants really may be Martian 
plants...” 

Chet shucked up his pants and 
spat contemptuously. 

“You’re plumb batty,” he declared. 

“I didn’t say that is what hap¬ 
pened,” explained the county agent. 
“I said that was what might have 
happened. That would form a logi¬ 
cal human explanation. But possibly 
it isn’t the human explanation that 
we want. From the Martian view¬ 
point... if Howard was a Martian... 
the explanation might be something 
entirely different. Probably would 
be. We are dealing with a thing be¬ 
yond our depth.” 

“There’s something wrong, you can 
bet your eye teeth on that,” an¬ 
nounced the sheriff. “Something 
that needs a whale of a lot of ex¬ 
plaining. Take that there Eater...” 

“An animal formed of silicon in¬ 
stead of carbon,” said the county 
agent. “Probable, not very possible 
.. .but there it was. All three of us 
saw what happened to it. We know 
it wasn’t flesh and blood. We know 
it wasn’t something that belonged to 
Earth. It, alone, if nothing else, 
should convince us that we’re dealing 
with something alien, something 
from out in space. 

"That blue cone that set the Eater 
on fire is another thing. Looks a lot 
like a flashlight. Something like a 
gun, too. But it isn’t either one. The 
scientists will have a holiday with 
it, if they den’t kill themselves tak¬ 
ing it apart. 

“Then there were the other ani¬ 
mals. Too bad we haven’t got them. 
They might give us some more data 
to go on. But Howard apparently 
destroyed them when he knew the 
jig was up. He was afraid that, 
examined closely enough, they might 
give him away. And the machine in 
the tent. Joe was right. It couldn’t 
have been a generator.. .at least not 
the kind of generator we know. Prob¬ 
ably was used to keep the Eater 


caged, but just how it worked, we 
can’t know.” 

“What I can’t figure out,” said the 
sheriff, “is why Howard or the thing 
that was Howard... tried to make up 
to the Eater. He must have known 
it was dangerous. But he took the 
chance.. .there must have been a rea- 

The county agent shook his head. 
“Undoubtedly there was. Maybe the 
Eater was his pet. A man will risk 
his life to help a dog he loves. But, 
again, we don’t know. We’re trying 
to apply human logic to alien mo¬ 
tives.” 

“Look here,” challenged Chet, “if 
all this stuff you been dreaming up 
is true, what are we going to do 
about it?” 

“Notify the proper authorities,” 
snapped the sheriff. “The state crime 
bureau. Maybe even the FBI by 
cracky.” 

“That’s right,” agreed the county 
agent. “We’ll have to watch. From 
now on, Earth can’t take chances. 
There may be others. Perhaps not 
masquerading as road shows, but in 
other ways. For what purpose we 
cannot be sure except that it bodes 
no good for Earth. Fifth column. 
Infiltration. Illegal immigration. 
Call it what you will. It has to be 
checked. We have to watch...we 
can’t take anything for granted any¬ 
more. Lord knows how long this has 
been going on...how many calam¬ 
ities really have been due to the work 
of things like these.” 

Chet shuddered. “So help me, you 
got me goose pimples all over. I’ll 
never feel safe again.” 

Slow feet shuffled toward the door. 
The three men tensed. Pop Hansen 
stumbled into the room. His liquor- 
muddled face stared at them. 

“Say,” he blurted, “any of you 
guys seen this feller that has the 
Martian show?” 

The sheriff bristled. 

“What do you want of him?” 

“Thought maybe I’d make a little 
deal.” 

“A little deal?” 

The old drunkard blinked. 

“Yeah, a deal. I got a candy- 
striped elephant...” 





CLOSE TO 
HOME 

(An Editorial) 


As this issue of SCIENCE 
FICTION STORIES goes to 
press, the war draws ever 
more close to home, for all 
Americans. We've all heard 
about total war, but now 
those of us who are not in 
active military duty are be¬ 
ginning to get an inkling of 
what the phrase means. lust 
beginning. We'll have a bet¬ 
ter idea, from first-hand experience, by the end of 1943. 


But now, more than ever before, we can see what it means to live in a 
democracy. In all lands, war has meant sacrifices on the part of everyone. 
We have heard how the Germans, Italians, and Japanese have had to take 
sacrifices—we do it differently, here. 


Recently publishers have been asked to accept a cut in the amount of paper 
they use. Asked, mind you. Can you imagine Messers Schicklegruber, Mus¬ 
solini, or Hirohito asking publishers if they minded taking a curtailment for 
the sake of conservation? 


With SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, this curtailment means that we will 
not be able to add those extra pages you have been asking for. But we're 
doing the next best thing; we're using a smaller type-face than before, thus 
adding to the number of words per page, and we're having the lines of type 
set a little more closely together. That, also, adds wordage. 

But the war has hit publications on other fronts than merely that of paper; 
individual costs have risen to such an extent that we are forced to raise the 
price of this magazine to 20c per copy. We don't like it any moro than you 
do. 

But the thing to remember is: despite the 
fact that we are engaged in a life-and-death 
struggle for the preservation of our way of 
living, America can afford to continue the pro¬ 
duction of a majority of its popular fiction 
magazines. 

And anyone who has existed under totali¬ 
tarian rule can tell you that this is no small 
matter. 

Sincerely yours, 

ROBERT W. LOWNDES. 



54 



* BLACKOUT * * 

By Bamoii Knight 

Now if some of Mr. Charles Fort's notions are right .... 


THE girl's cigarette glowed in the 
I dark, throwing her delicate, child¬ 
like features into ephemeral relief. The 
boy leaned back against the park 
bench and watched her, noticing with 
tolerant amusement the cautious way 
she drew on it, not inhaling — like a 
little girl drinking a soda through a 
straw. 

He smiled possessively and flipped 
his own cigarette into the night, watch¬ 
ing the swift, fiery trail it made and 
the tiny shower of sparks as it struck 
the path and extinguished itself. He 
looked up just in time to see a meteor 
fall half down the sky and then wink 
out. 

"Strange," he said musingly. "We 
know so little, really, about — the 
stars." 

"The stars?" she echoed. 

"Yes. We see them every night of 
our lives, if we look for them; sailors 
navigate by them; astronomers study 
them — and yet we really have no 
idea at all about what they actually 
are." 

"They're balls of fire, aren't they 
—'way out in space?" 

"That's what a scientist will tell you 
—but how do we know the scientists 
are right? You've never read the books 
of Charles Fort—neither have I, if it 
comes to that, but I've read about 
them. Fort had a theory that the stars 
are actually much nearer than the sci¬ 
entists think. And as to what they are 
—what they're made of—how do we 
know? How does anybody know?" 
THE WARDEN turned as his friend 
I Swift soared toward his lonely out¬ 
post. "It's quiet tonight," the other 
greeted. 

'It is," the Warden returned. "But 
we've got to keep a lookout just the 
same. No telling what deviltry they'll 
cook up." He revolved slowly, scan¬ 
ning the endless expanse which was 
the home of his people. Far off in the 


distance, the nearest populated center 
glowed, its myriad light-motes clus¬ 
tered in elfin configurations. In every 
other direction there was only black¬ 
ness for thousands of light-years; black¬ 
ness from which they would strike, if 
they came; descending on the scat¬ 
tered cities in vast, deadly hordes. 

"But don't worry about it," he added. 
"Like as not they won't come at all. 
Our boys haven't been idle—they've 
been keeping them pretty busy oh the 
second front, if all we hear is true. 
How's your son. Swift?" 

"Still in Basic Training. He's doing 
fine, though, especially in the Cos- 
mics. He expects to be sent to active 
duty in another three or four units." 

"Fine, fine. Wish 7 could go. But 
there's not much we old duffers can 
do, except watch for raids and train 
the young ones. When a man's radia¬ 
tions get down into the ultra-violet, 
there's no place for him in the army." 

They hovered together for a while 
in companionable silence. Swift gazed 
curiously as motion caught his eye far 
out in space; started, and looked again. 

"Look!" he cried. "Those aren't our 
carriers, are they?" 

The Warden whirled. "Where?" A 
group of violet, attenuated, sinister 
shapes was swiftly approaching them, 
far away now, but coming closer. 
"First Cause! It's them!" 

"Sound the alarm!" 

The Warden stiffened, and his ener¬ 
gies reached out toward the city in 
the distance. "Raiders approaching 
from seventh octant; bearing 4377-0. 
Warning; Raiders approaching—" 

And on Earth, on a bench in Central 
Park in the fragrant, spring night, a 
girl gasped and then screamed hor¬ 
ribly, hopelessly, as if she would never 
stop screaming, as the stars, group by 
group, winked abruptly out across the 
unhuman face of the sky. 



















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TtTtttTttTTTYN ETHICS 

"Marzerth is out to keep their monopoly by using ancient gang¬ 
ster-terrorism against all competitors. They've murdered our 
best men, and now just kidnapped your daughter, Cheever. And 
don't think they're bluffing in what they say they'll do to her if 
you don't give in. But there's one thing that Hammond has over¬ 
looked — one way to fight Marzerth and beat it. And, believe 
it or not, Cheever, it's a problem in ethics!" 

★ By Henry Ilnttner -k 


T HEY found young Seton 
huddled under a bench on one 
of the cross-town movable 
ways. He’d been beaten up thorough¬ 
ly. His face was pulp. His eyes had 
been gouged out. He managed to 
talk a little before he died, but he 
couldn’t name his murderers. They 
were hired thugs from the outlands, 
some hell-hole on Lower Venus or 
the Martian badlands. 

People who read the newstapes that 
evening were sickened, horrified, and 
frightened. Violence in the twenty- 
first century was unusual—so much 
so that there simply wasn’t any po¬ 
lice organization any more. With 
the abolition of wars after the Big 
Smash, the world had settled down to 
doing things the right way. It 
seemed to work. Eventually capital 
punishment was erased from the 
books. Traffic guards had paralyzers, 
set to such a low notching that they 
didn’t even paralyze. 

Hiram Gale, who was a physicist 
with Commerce, Inc., went to see the 
big boss, Cheever. Gale breezed in 
looking malignant and angry, a scowl 
on his wry, wrinkled face, and a bit¬ 
ter gleam in his faded eyes. 

He started things off by swearing 
at Cheever, who didn’t do anything 
more than shrug. 

“Well,” the boss said, biting his 
lips, “I’m sorry, Hiram. But I can’t 
bring him back to life, can I?” 


“Blasted jellyfish,” Gale said. “I 
only wish I had two good legs.” He 
dropped into a chair and let his 
crutches drop. “You’re husky enough, 
Jay, and you’re still young. Why 
don’t you do something about this 
mess?” 

“What?” 

“Seton was one of my best men. 
He isn’t the first. There’ve been 
others. And not only here—all over 
the System. Pioneers who wanted 
to change to our new atomic fuel 
gadgets. What happens to them? 
Beaten up—or murdered I” 

Cheever said weakly, “It isn’t 
worth it, Hiram. Why not let Mar¬ 
zerth keep their monopoly—” 

Gale’s eyes went darkly cold. 
“Those filthy, murdering swine!” 

“Well—but—” 

“Sure, they’ve got the strangle-hold 
on fuel for Marzerth energizers—and 
they want to keep it. Even though 
those energizers cost so damn much 
only the rich can afford ’em—un¬ 
less they’re leased at an exorbitant 
percentage from Marzerth! Which 
means peonage on the other planets, 
mister. Secondly, the energizers are 
dangerous. There’ve been more ex¬ 
plosions—” 

Cheever sighed. “I know, I know. 
Our Atoma device is fool-proof, 
cheap, and plenty effective. Only 
we can’t get it on the market.” 

Gale said icily, “Why? Because 
we’re not fighting!” 


58 





“You’re crazy! War? Good heavens, 
Hiram—d’you want to turn back the 
clock a century?” 

“If necessary. The Marzerth peo¬ 
ple have no place in this era. They’re 
anachronisms. They’ve gone back to 
Nazi gangster ideology for their 
methods. They’re succeeding, too, 
because the worlds have forgotten 
how to fight.” 

“Fighting is profitless. That’s 
been proved.” 

“It hasn’t. Not to my satisfaction, 
anyway.” 

“This isn’t your pie,” Cheever said. 
“Why mix up in it?” 


^"^ALE sneered. I haven’t been 
WW neglecting my work, if that’s 
what you mean—” 

“Of course it isn’t! You know 
that.” 

“I’ve been fooling around with 
more than one experimental gadget. 
My temporal theories are working 
out; that teleportation formula is 
proving interesting, and—but the hell 
with such junk. I’m talking about 
Marzerth. What are you going to 
do?” 

“There’s nothing I can do!” 

“Indeed?” Gale said. 

“Peaceful arbitration—” 


59 




60 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“Has been tried. And failed. 
Marzerth wants to keep their 
stranglehold, so they can keep on 
dragging in money by the ton while 
colonists and miners on the asteroids 
and in the Venus swamps and un¬ 
der the Martian mountains are vir¬ 
tually their slaves! Economic peon¬ 
age ! Of course Marzerth knows that 
if Atoma goes on the open market, 
it’ll make their energizers obsolete. 
And free their slaves!” 

“They want to maintain their 
monopoly—” 

“They want no competition,” Gale 
said flatly. “I happen to know that 
Marzerth, years ago, developed types 
of energizers far superior to the 
original Marzerth patent. If they 
wanted to convert, they could—and 
compete openly with us. But that’s 
not their plan. So they terrorize. 
They find out who’s buying Atomas, 
and use gangster tactics. They get 
after the men in our own plants— 
look what happened to poor Seton! 
He was warned. But he had guts, 
more than you have, Jay.” 

Cheever refused to show annoy¬ 
ance. “Violence is never justified.” 

“Ever heard of fighting fire with 
fire?” 

“I’m sorry. I refuse to organize 
strong-arm gangs—” 

“Okay,” Gale said. “Televise Ham¬ 
mond.” 

“What? Why?” 

“Because he’s the boss of Marzerth. 
The so-and-so behind all this. The 
guy’s who’s been reading about 
Capone and Hitler and the twentieth 
century terrorists. And—” Gale hes¬ 
itated a moment. When he went 
on, he didn’t look at Cheever. “Be¬ 
cause your daughter’s been kid¬ 
napped.” 

Cheever’s hands froze on the edge 
of the desk. The color went out of 
his smoothly-massaged face. 

“Marla—” 

Gale kept his voice emotionless. 
“She was kidnapped from her sky- 
car half an hour ago. There were 
a few traffic guards around, but what 
could they do against organized 
crime? They’re not organized.” 


C HEEVER’S big frame seemed 
shrunken. “They wouldn’t do 
that. They couldn’t. Kidnapping’s 
unheard of. Hiram, for God’s sake, 
what can I do? They won’t hurt 
her, will they?” 

“No. Certainly not. She’s valuable 
as a hostage.” 

“Who did it? D’you know?” 

“I don’t know —naturally there’s no 
proof. Hammond’s too clever to leave 
clues pointing in his direction. Legal¬ 
ly you can’t touch him. He’s above 
this milk-and-water law we’ve got to¬ 
day. But—televise him, Jay.” 

“Yes. I—what’ll I say?” 

Gale touched the stud and gave 
the number. He kept his hand firmly, 
encouragingly on Cheever’s shoulder, 
and the big man seemed to draw 
strength from the contact. But his 
lips were pale. 

The face of Phil Hammond showed 
on the screen, gray-haired, dapper, 
tight-mouthed, eyes arrogant as Luci¬ 
fer’s. As Gale had said, he was above 
the law, and he knew it. He wa3 
the strong man in an effete century. 
Now he smiled at Cheever, nodded, 
and said, “Good evening, Mr. Cheev¬ 
er. How are you?” 

“Hammond—my daughter—” 

The gray man’s eyebrows rose. 
“Eh?” 

Gale’s hand tightened. Cheever 
took a long breath. 

“Marla’s been kidnapped,” he said. 
“Tonight, half an hour ago.” 

“Good lord! My sympathy! If 
there’s anything I can do, of 
course—” 

“Hammond, don’t play around with 
me! Have you got her?” 

“Don’t be absurd. You’re over¬ 
wrought, Mr. Cheever. I am not a 

criminal! The libel laws-sorry. I 

didn’t mean to threaten you. I can 
understand how upset you must be.” 

Cheever made a coughing sound 
deep in his throat. Gale, out of range 
of the televisor pick-up, wrote, “Play 
along” on a pad and held it up. 

“Okay,” Cheever said, after a time. 
“Sorry, I—I thought you might be 
able to suggest something, perhaps.” 

Hammond adjusted his neckband. 
“Dear me. Our police are so inef¬ 
ficient—merely traffic coordinators. 





Problem in Ethics ★ ★ ★ 61 


I’ve been forced to rely on a group 
of special operators I employ my¬ 
self, for guard duty. I’ll tell you 
what, Cheever—the boys hear things 
now and then, and it’s quite possible 
they may hear something about 
Marla. The grapevine, you know. 
I’ll pass the word, and let you know 
immediately if I can find out any¬ 
thing.” 

Gale winked and nodded. Cheever 
said, “Thanks. That—that’ll be good 
of you,” and broke the connection. 
He leaned back, sweat trickling down 
his cheeks. 

“I’m thinking of torture,” he said. 
“That was a favorite weapon of ter¬ 
rorists. Hiram—” 

“Take it easy. Hammond tipped 
his hand. He’s got Marla, and he’ll 
send her back, safe, if you pay off.” 

“Money? He knows I’d do that.” 

“Not money. He wants the energy 
monopoly. See?” 

“I see,” Cheever said dully. “I 
can’t believe it, though. Men can’t 
do such things—not in this day.” 

“Some will. If they’re permitted. 
The trouble is—” Gale was talking 
fast, as though to keep Cheever from 
thinking of his daughter. “—men 
today, as a rule, aren’t conditioned 
to such vicious tactics. We’re peace¬ 
ful. We don’t know how to fight. 
We can scarcely handle weapons. 
Only the scum like Hammond’s thugs 
are capable of violence—so they’ve 
got the upper hand. The worst of 
it is that the law’s on their side. It 
hasn’t teeth any more. And Ham¬ 
mond has such a batch of attorneys 
and winds himself up in such a hell 
of a lot of red tape that we can’t 
touch him. Law suits would drag on 
for years, even if we had legal evi¬ 
dence. And meanwhile, there’d be 
terrorism still going on.” 

UT you can’t fight people like 
that,” Cheever argued. He 
was trembling a little. 

“It’s possible to learn.” 

“I wonder. I—I don’t think I 
could. If I could save Marla by 
sacrificing myself—or anything—I’d 
do it.” . 

“Men like Hammond count on 
that,” Gale said drily. “Luckily, I’ve 


a chap who doesn’t think as you do. 
His name’s Broom, Richard Broom, 
and I’ve been training him—special¬ 
ized training—for quite some time. 
Jay. I’ll admit, I expected some¬ 
thing like this to happen.” 

“You expected they’d kidnap 
Marla?” 

“No. Not that. But I knew there’d 
be a blow-off eventually. So—my 
assistant, Broom. You say the art 
of fighting has been conditioned out 
of the race. Well, Broom seems to 
have learned how to use weapons— 
and a lot more—in a few weeks. Why 
not let him try his luck now?” 

Cheever shook his head decidedly. 
“You forget that Marla’s life is at 
stake.” 

“That’s what Hammond’s counting 

“I will not employ a gangster to 
fight gangsters, Hiram.” 

“Broom doesn’t feel that way about 
it. He liked young Seton. Did you 
see the kid, by the way?” 

Cheever licked his lips. “Yes, 
Yes. But—” 

“Not very pretty.” 

The televisor hummed. Hammond’s 
face appeared on the screen, bland 
and expressionless. “Cheever?” he 
said. “I’ve had good luck. Unex¬ 
pectedly good. I think my men have 
got on the track of Marla.” 

Gale’s eyes hooded. He swung his 
shrunken body slightly on his 
crutches, listening intently. 

“Well?” Cheever said. “Where is 
she? Tell me, man!” 

“I can’t tell you that. I said—only 
a clue. It may lead to nothing. But 
—drop into the Blue Planet tonight. 
You might find out something, or you 
might not. That’s all I can say.” 

The face vanished. Gale, smiled 
mirthlessly. 

“He’s protecting himself. Maybe 
he wants to make you squirm a little, 
too.” 

Cheever stood up. “All right, all 
right! What’s the Blue Planet?” 

The televisor directory gave the 
address; a cheapjack neighborhood 
on the wrong end of town. Cheever 
shrugged into an overcoat. 

"Want a gun?” Gale said. “I’ve 
got one.” 




62 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“What good would a gun do me 
against trained killers?” Cheever 
asked logically. “Even if I wanted 
to take a chance on losing Marla? 
No, I’ll do what they say.” 

“Even if it means promising to 
give up the Atoma patents—trans¬ 
ferring them to Marzerth? Hammond 
will never use ’em, you know.” 

HEEVER made a wry face and 
went out. Gale used the tele¬ 
visor to call a number in his labor¬ 
atory. As the screen sprang to life 
he made out in its depths the lumina- 
lighted, white expanse of one of his 
big workrooms, with machinery clut¬ 
tering it. In the distance was a tall, 
broad-shouldered figure, back turned 
to Gale. 

It whirled r.ow and came cat¬ 
footed toward the receiver set—a big 
man, barrel-chested, with a tawny 
golden beard and light-blue, piercing 
eyes. Not a handsome man, but a 
ruddy-cheeked, strong, dangerous- 
looking one, somehow. 

“Oh, Hiram,” the man said. 
“Well?” 

“Hammond’s done it,” Gale said. 
“Listen. You’ll have to move fast— 
I only hope I taught you enough in 
these few weeks—” 

“I learn swiftly,” said the other, 
with a broken-toothed grin. “Well?” 

Gale explained. “The Blue Planet,” 
he finished. “You have the address? 
Good. Then I’ll leave the rest to 
ou—I can’t tell you any more than 
have already.” 

“Very well,” Broom nodded. His 
face vanished. Over the beam Gale 
heard a door shut with a slam. He 
dropped into Cheever’s chair, idly 
running one hand up and down his 
crutches, and looked into nothing- 

Gangster tactics, he thought. Phil 
Hammond, ruthlessly reviving the 
ancient brutal methods of the twen¬ 
tieth century, in a world of peace 
and plenty—a world helpless against 
this first, germinating seed of 
discord. Such seeds grow, Gale knew. 
In the past they had grown. Tyran¬ 
ny, war, fury—and because one man, 
armed, was so much stronger than an¬ 


other that he could take unfair ad¬ 
vantage. 

“Ruthlessness,” Gale said, under 
his breath. “Hammond counts on 
that. But I wonder—somehow—if he 
knows what ruthlessness means?” 

R ichard broom touched the 

electro-gun in his pocket and 
grinned faintly in his beard. A sim¬ 
ple weapon. Pressing the button 
meant that a charge of energy would 
leap from the muzzle and kill. Or 
maim, depending on the aim. The 
knife concealed in his belt seemed 
more reliable, somehow. He downed 
a whiskey straight, said “Ah-h-h!” in 
a pleased fashion, and watched, from 
the corner of his eye, Jay Cheever, 
at a distant booth in the tavern. 

Behind Broom was a televisor cu¬ 
bicle, sound-proofed and without 
windows. Gale had said that the com¬ 
munication would probably be made 
by visor. Broom, pouring another 
whiskey, drank it in a hasty gulp, 
picked up the bronze-table lamp, and 
smashed it against the plastic panel 
of the cubicle. He had strength. The 
lamp-base broke a jagged hole in the 
panel. At the sound of the crash 
heads turned, and a waiter came 
hurrying over to investigate the dam¬ 
age. He had one hand in his pocket. 

Broom carefully replaced the lamp 
and smiled up at the waiter. “Sorry,” 
he said. 

“Listen, whiskers, are you trying 
to tear up the place? We don’t stand 
for—” 

Silently Broom poured coin-units 
on the table-top. “Enough?” he asked 
finally, nodding toward the wrecked 
panel. 

It was far more than enough. The 
waiter grimaced, and then, deciding 
in favor of the immediate profit, 
pocketed the money and departed. 
Broom drank more whiskey and 
watched Cheever without seeming to 
do so. 

The televisor hummed. The bar¬ 
tender, being nearest to the cubicle, 
answered. He came out calling, 
“Cheever. Call for Mr. Cheever.” 

The executive got up and hurried 
forward. He gave Broom a wary, 
suspicious glance, and another at the 




Problem In Efhics ★ ★ ★ 43 


hole in the panel. But there was 
nothing to be done about that now. 
He vanished into the booth. Some¬ 
thing—his hat, probably—covered the 
break from within. Broom leaned 
down under the table, as though to 
recover a dropped coin. He heard 
Cheever’s voice. 

“Where? Meet you where?’’ 

“Corner of 96th and Grand. We’ll 
pick you up. Come alone.” 

Click. 

Broom sat up. Cheever came out 
of the booth, gave him another wary 
look, and headed for the door. As 
he disappeared, Broom rose. He saw 
a thick-bodied, dark-haired man walk¬ 
ing forward, a man with a broken 
nose and the sharp, furtive eyes of 
a killer. Broom had seen such eyes 
before. He was not surprised to find 
his exit blocked. 

“What’s your hurry, fella?” the 
squat man asked. 

“Hurry?” 

“Yeah. You weren’t intending to 
follow that guy that just went out, 
maybe, were you?” 

B ROOM looked at him. The man 
said, “Why not sit down and 
keep drinking?” His hand slipped 
into a pocket. 

“Yes,” Broom said, and sat down 
again. He poured another drink from 
the bottle, and thrust the little glass 
across the table toward the squat 
man. As the latter’s glance flicked 
down, Broom threw the whiskey into 
the man’s eyes. 

He had done this with his left 
hand. The fingers of his right had 
already closed lovingly around the 
neck of the bottle. The squat man 
swore thickly and tried to pull some¬ 
thing out of his pocket. Broom, sud¬ 
denly on his feet, swung the bottle 
in a long, vicious arc and crashed it 
murderously on his opponent’s face. 
Blood, whiskey, and glass flew. The 
man screamed in unbelieving terror 
and agony. 

Forgetting his gun, he clawed at 
his eyes. “God!” he yelled. “You 
blinded me! i You—” 

“Yes,” Broom said. Others were 
coming toward him, but they had 
been taken by surprise; moreover, 


they probably considered this merely 
a drunken brawl—though even that 
was cause for surprise, now that 
there were so few inhibitions for 
liquor to release. Broom went out 
of the door with cat-footed swift¬ 
ness. No one had time to stop him. 
He ran a few paces, paused, and 
signalled the lights of a surface taxi. 

“Where to, bud?” 

“96th and Grand. No. 95th and 
Grand.” 

Men were pouring out of the 
tavern. . The taxi driver hesitated, 
craning over his shoulder. 

“Trouble?” 

A huge hand closed on his neck, 
bruising muscles and cracking tiny 
bones. 

“95th and Grand.” 

The taxi started with a jolt. The 
huge hand went away. But the driver 
did not look back till he drew up at 
his destination. Then he found him¬ 
self too hoarse to speak; he could 
only whisper and point to the figures 
marked in the illuminated band above 
Broom’s head. 

Broom paid and got out, watching 
the cab slide hurriedly off and vanish 
into the dark. He stood briefly let¬ 
ting the cool wind play against his 
ruddy cheeks and ruffle his beard. 
He was smiling. 

This was a warehouse district. 

The mighty buildings towered like 
mountains into the night sky, where 
stars showed ir the narrow purple 
cracks above. Luminous light-bands 
glowed on the curbs. Broom kept 
well away from them as he walked 
toward 96th. 

As he expected, Cheever was stand¬ 
ing there, shivering in spite of his 
heavy overcoat. He turned, startled, 
at sight of Broom, and then rec¬ 
ognition came into his face. 

“ Y ou’re—” 

“Give me your coat.” 

“You were in the bar with me. Are 
you from—is it about Marla? I don’t 
understand this—” 

Broom peeled the coat from the 
other’s shoulders and donned it him¬ 
self. It was too small. Seams 
ripped. Nevertheless he struggled 
into it. 




64 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


HEEVER was watching him. 
“What about Marla?” 

“Go home,” Broom said. 

“But—no, listen! How do I know 
you’re the man I was to meet? They 
said they’d pick me up. That meant 
a car.” 

And a car was coming. Its dimmed 
lights showed in the distance. Broom 
carefully gauged distance and threw 
his fist against Cheever’s jaw. Cheev- 
er collapsed. Broom dragged him 
into the shadows and left him. Then, 
donning the other man’s hat, he 
pulled it low over his eyes, hid his 
beard in his overcoat lapels, and 
stepped to the curb. 

The car was a convertible flying 
model, big, dark and sleek. It pulled 
up, and Broom felt keen eyes on 
him. 

“Cheever,” he said. 

“Alone?” 

The voice was hard, metallic, and 
toneless. 

“Yes.” 

“Get in.” 

A door gaped. Broom’s eyes were 
adjusting themselves to the dark. 
Two men were in the rear compart¬ 
ment, and one in the driver’s seat. 
Big men—and light glinted on their 
guns, stray beams reflected from the 
curb glowstrip. 

Broom bent his head and entered. 
The two men moved aside on the seat 
to make room for him. He sat down, 
his hands, hidden by the coat, feel¬ 
ing for gun and knife. 

The car slid forward, went anti¬ 
gravity, and zoomed upward. 

The man at Broom’s left said, 
“Let’s take a look at you. And frisk 
him, Jerry, while you’re at it.” 

“What for?” Jerry said. 

He doubled up with a coughing 
moan as the silent electrogun blasted 
through the heavy fabric of the over¬ 
coat. Broom knew where to aim. 
The charge angled up through the 
man’s ribs and found his heart. He 
died instantly. 

The other man— 

The knife was held in Broom’s 
left hand, his thumb pressed firmly 
over the hilt’s top, and he drove it 
up, in a deep, slicing thrust, at the 
man’s belly. The blazing cold shock 


of agony choked the victim before he 
could scream. And, as he tried to 
breathe, the sharp blade plunged 
again, and he died. 

The aircar was above the buildings 
now, heading west. The pilot turned 
his head, peered through the gloom, 
and opened his mouth. He didn’t 
close it. 

He kicked out, setting the ship to 
automatic control, and went for his 
gun, writhing swiftly in his seat. 
Broom was still holding his electro¬ 
pistol. Instead of firing, he gun- 
whipped the other. The cartilege 
of the pilot’s nose ripped; blood 
streamed from his face; he was 
smashed back against the windslip 
transparent panel. 

That gave Broom time to carry the 
fight into his opponent’s territory. 
He was leaning over the back of the 
front seat when the pilot, shaking 
his head and cursing thickly, lifted 
his hand to aim the gun. Broom’s 
knife came down, cutting across the 
other’s arm midway between elbow 
and wrist. 

The man screamed. 

B ROOM caught the gun as it fell. 

His face had not changed. He 
listened impassively to oaths that 
changed gradually to gasping pleas. 

“—God, I’ll bled to death! Gimme 
a chance! You cut my arm off—” 
“Where is Marla Cheever?” Broom 
said. 

“—my arm! Jeez, you can’t—you 
can’t—” 

Broom caught the wounded arm 
and twisted. His blue eyes had an 
unpleasant, withdrawn glitter. 

When the man had stopped scream¬ 
ing, he asked again, “Where is 
Marla Cheever?” 

There was the sound of harsh 
breathing. “I—I don’t know. No— 
don’t! Don’t! It’s the truth! I was 
supposed to televise Nichols—” 
“Who is Nichols?” 

“I don’t know. He never shows 
his face on the visor screen. I—I—” 
“Take me to him.” 

“But—I don’t know where he is!” 
“Find out.” 

“Ah-h! Uh....okay. Okay. I’ll try. 
Only don’t—” 




Problem in Ethics ★ ★ * 65 


Broom watched the car slant down 
toward a rooftop. His victim got 
out, nursing his arm, from which 
blood was still flowing. It was dark 
up here, the distant lights of the 
downtown district a flaming corona 
against the sky. Once the rocket- 
jets of a space ship made a comet 
streak up from the horizon. 

The pilot led the way down a stair¬ 
case, unlocked a door, and let Broom 
into a small apartment. Broom 
pointed to the televisor against the 
wall. 

“I’ll bleed to death! For God’s 
sake—” 

Broom yanked the man into the 
bathroom, ripped down a curtain, and 
improvised a tourniquet. He used 
cold water to swab blood roughly 
from the man’s face. 

“Get Nichols.” 

T HE pilot dragged himself to the 
televisor and spun a number. The 
screen lit up, but no face showed on 
it. A clipped voice said, “Well?” 

“This is—Macklin. I—I’ve got to 
see you—” 

“Impossible. Where’s Cheever?” 
Macklin flashed a glance of ter¬ 
rified appeal at Broom. The tele¬ 
visor said, “somebody’s there with 
you. What’s happened? You’re 
bleeding—” 

Quick suspicion showed in the 
precise voice. Broom watched the 
screen suddenly fade into dull blank¬ 
ness. He pushed Macklin aside and 
called Hiram Gale, at the laboratories. 
“Gale?” 

“Here. How is it?” 

“Trace this number.” Broom gave 
it. 

“All right. I’ll call you back. 
Where are you? Uptown seven— 
eh? Right; I’ve got it. Hang on.” 

Broom and Macklin waited. The 
pilot was shaking. He fumbled out 
a cigarette, but couldn’t light it. 
Broom didn’t offer to help. 

Presently the visor hummed again. 
Gale said, “Got it. Apartment four, 
eighty-three Upper Parkway. Phil 
Hammond owns the penthouse in that 
building. That what you want?” 

“Yes,” Broom said. He turned 
away, picked up Macklin by the 


scruff of the neck, and dragged him 
up to the roof. The air-car was still 
there. 

“Eighty-three Upper Parkway. Go 
there.” 

Macklin opened his mouth and 
closed it again. He got silently into 
the pilot’s seat and sent the ship 
slanting up. Broom, beside him, 
fondled his beard with a blood¬ 
stained hand. The pale blue eyes 
were quite expressionless. 

They landed in a parking-lot not 
far from their destination. The at¬ 
tendant was busy elsewhere, and 
Macklin turned to his companion 
with a questioning glance. 

“You’ll let me go now?” 

For answer Broom’s huge hand 
closed on the pilot’s throat. After a 
time he let go, climbed out of the 
car, and walked quietly toward the 
street. There was a movable way 
here. He seated himself on one of 
the benches and let the strip carry 
him along. 

He got off a few blocks away, at 
83 Upper Parkway. A visiplate was 
set above the door, and Broom rang 
the buzzer numbered four. The plate 
lighted. Nichols’ familiar clipped 
tones said, “Who is it?” 

“Cheever.” 

“You’re not Cheever.” 

“Cheever sent me.” 

There was a pause. “Oh. You’re 
alone, I see. All right, come in.” 

Broom obeyed. Along the hall a 
door was opening. He pushed through 
it, thrusting back a small, ferret-faced 
man. Almost absently, almost with¬ 
out looking, Broom sank his knife 
into the man’s body between clavicle 
and neck. 

A CROSS the room was someone 
at a desk, arranging vials and 
syringes on a napkin before him. He 
was almost as big as Broom, but an 
albino, white-haired and with pale, 
pinkish eyes. 

Standing beside him was a squat, 
ugly fellow resembling a hairless 
gorilla. He was reaching for his gun 
when Broom put an electro-charge 
through his heart. The man at the 
desk ducked down and was hidden 
from sight. 




66 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


Broom crossed the room in two 
jumps and heaved the desk over. A 
weapon glinted in his opponent’s 
hand. The man was momentarily held 
down by the heavy desk, but his gun 
was swinging around to aim point- 
blank at Broom. 

Broom smashed his foot down on 
that menacing hand. The man 
screamed and let go. Broom pulled 
the desk away, sat on the other man’s 
chest, and laid the point of his knife 
against the pulsing throat. 

“Where is Marla Cheever?” he 
said. 

“I—I don’t know what you’re—” 

Broom smashed his open hand 
down, hard, on the other’s face. Aft¬ 
er that, it wasn’t a face any more. 
Broom’s big palm kept the albino 
from yelling. 

“Where is Marla Cheever?” 

The man gasped something thick¬ 
ly. Broom removed his improvised 

gag- 

“This won’t get you anywhere, 
damn you! If Cheever wants his 
daughter alive, he’ll do what we 
want! And he’ll pay for what you’ve 
done!” 

“Where is Marla Cheever?” 

The albino coughed blood. “Tough 
guy—eh? Marla’s safe. But she 
won’t be unless you-Let me up!” 

Broom stepped back and let 
Nichols rise. Holding a red hand¬ 
kerchief to his mouth, the man said, 
“You can’t get Marla this way. If 
Cheever wants his daughter tor¬ 
tured—” 

Broom’s blue eyes showed sudden, 
merciless laughter. He shot out his 
hand, swung Nichols around, and 
bent the albino’s up behind his back. 
Nichols squealed, but Broom’s palm 
instantly stifled his cry. 

“Torture,” Broom said. “Yes.” 

“— uh —break my arm ah-h!” 

“Where is Marla Cheever?” 

The sweat of agony dripped from 
the albino’s forehead. And there was 
stark, disbelieving amazement mixed 
with the pain in his expression. He 
gasped, “You—didn’t hear me—I said 
—we’d torture—the girl—” 

“No,” Broom said. “You. Where 
is she?” 


ICHOLS held out for a while. 
Broom was merciless. The al¬ 
bino could talk glibly about torture, 
but he himself had never experienced 
it. 

Ten minutes later, his arm broken, 
his lips bitten through, he pulled 
himself to the televisor and called a 
number. 

“Nichols?" 

Nothing showed on the screen. 

“Y-yes. Let the girl go. Let her 
go!” 

“Something wrong? Did Cheev¬ 
er—” 

Broom moved gently. Nichols 
winced. His voice broke with hys¬ 
teria. 

“Cheever did what we wanted! Let 
her go, d’you hear? Right now!” 

“All right, if you say so. Quick 
work, eh?” 

Broom broke the connection. 
Nichols staggered to a chair and sat 
down, making hoarse, animal sounds. 

Broom watched him impassively. 

“Who pays you?” he asked finally. 

“Hammond. Phil Hammond. I— 
I’ll testify in court—” 

“No,” Broom said. “Wait.” 

A half hour later he televized 
Hiram Gale. The little scientist was 
grinning triumphantly. 

“Broom? She’s back. Just showed 
up. They let her go.” 

“Yes. Cheever?” 

“He’s here, too. A guard found 
him on the street, slugged uncon¬ 
scious. What now?” 

“Wait,” Broom said. 

Nichols looked up. The big bearded 
man was leveling a gun at him. 

Nichols gasped and tried to fling 
himself aside. “Don’t,” he shrilled. 
“I’ll testify—I’ll sign a confession—” 

“Why?” Broom asked. 

“You can’t kill me—like this—” 

“Why not?” 

He shot Nichols neatly through the 
head. Then he left the apartment 
and took the pneumo-lift to the pent¬ 
house. A butler met him at the 
door, staring, astonished, at the great 
blood-stained figure. 

“Sir?” 

“Hammond.” 

“If you’ll wait—” 

Broom laid his fist against the but- 




Problem in Ethics ★ ★ ★ 67 


ler’s jaw. He stepped over the man’s 
prone body and called, “Hammond!” 

“In here,” a voice said from be¬ 
yond an open door. 

PKTtHE penthouse was big and luxur- 
M. ious. The city’s lights gleamed 
like a fantastic firefly garden through 
the great windows. Hammond was 
in an oak-paneled room, a gray, quiet 
little man drinking brandy and puff¬ 
ing at an ancient pipe. Tapestries of 
Bayonne and Gobelin hung from the 
walls. Antique armor and arms were 
here and there, hauberks, swords, 
maces, mieericordias, and the like. 
Underfoot the carpet was a rich, deep 
Bokhara. 

Hammond looked at the big man 
on the threshold. 

“I don’t know you," he said. 

“No.” 

“What do you want?” 

“I am fighting for Cheever,” Broom 
said, “—and for some others.” 

The gray eyebrows rose. Hammond 
sighed. 

“By your appearance, you seem to 
have befallen among thieves. You 
are—wait. I remember. You are one 
of Hiram Gale’s assistants. He hired 
you a few weeks ago. 

Broom nodded. 

“I see. And some—thugs—have 
tried to persuade you to give up your 
job? Is that it? Well, why do you 
come here?” 

“To stop you.” 

Hammond chuckled. “That’s been 
tried, my friend. It’s impossible. 
I’m fairly rich, and fairly powerful. 
What do you expect to accomplish?” 

“Your death,” Broom said. 


There was a pause., 

“Don’t be a fool,” Hammond said 
shortly. “You’re not insane. That’s 
no way to settle matters—” 

“It is your way.” 

“Proof. Proof, my good man. Show 
me one iota of legal proof—” 
Broom lifted his gun. Hammond’s 
pipe fell from his mouth. His hand 
shook as he put down the brandy 
napoleon. 

“Wait,” he said, his voice almost 
a whisper. “You’re crazy. This Isn’t 
—-justice—” 

l, Justice?” Broom hesitated. His 
gaze swept around the room. Com¬ 
ing to a decision, he pocketed his 
electro-gun, stepped to a wall, and 
tore down two great swords. One 
of these he tossed toward Hammond. 
It fell ringing at the gray man’s feet, 
“Here is justice,” Broom said. 
Hammond licked dry lips. “You 
can’t do this,” he said. “You can’t 
come into my home and—and—” 
“Trial by battle,” Broom said. 
“Take up your sword.” 

“I won’t. You won’t kill an un¬ 
armed man!” 

“A coward is not a man.” 
Hammond’s frantic eyes flicked 
about, searching. Broom stood lean¬ 
ing on his sword. Abruptly the gray 
man swooped down, snatched up his 
weapon, and dtove in a vicious, be- 
low-guard thrust at Broom’s belly. 

Broom parried the blow. His own 
blade swept around, flaming like liv¬ 
ing light» singing like a harp. The 
look of blank, disbelieving astonish¬ 
ment was still on Hammond’s face 
when the gray man’s head leaped 
from his shoulders in a spouting 
fountain of scarlet. 


• 

HIS SPECIALTY WAS DIVING! 

• 

• 

Joe considered himself a plenty smart leather-pusher. The way he hit the 

• 

• 

canvas for phony kayos was plenty slick. Then he met a girl who thought 



he was a great tighter, and Joe wondered It he COULD win a bout/ 


• 

Don’t Mias 

• 

• 

' RING RAT” by Eric Itober 

• 

ALL SPORTS MAGAZINE 












68 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


Broom wiped his swerd carefully, 
replaced it on the wall, and let him¬ 
self out of the apartment. 

H IRAM GALE and Cheever were 
in the physicist’s laboratory. 
Gale was making adjustments on a 
cubical device, complicated and 
esoteric, and flinging occasional re¬ 
marks over his shoulder as he 
worked. 

“All right,” he said. “So Ham¬ 
mond was found dead a couple of 
hours ago. What about it?” 

“His head was cut off!” Cheever 
said, white-lipped. “In this day and 
age—” 

“A crime wave, eh? I’ve heard 
other reports, too. You got your 
daughter back, didn’t you?” 

“Yes. And Fm grateful to this man 
Broom for that. But Hiram—it’s 
savage, uncivilized, inhuman!” 

“So was Hammond’s organization. 
He went back to the twentieth cen¬ 
tury for his tactics. But he made a 
big mistake.” Gale turned a helix, 
checking it with a micrometer. 

“Eh? What was that?” 

“His thugs weren’t so tough. They 
had a veneer of savagery overlying a 
core of civilization. It was simply 
a problem of finding someone tough¬ 
er than they were. Such criminals 
can’t be fought except on their own 
ground, Jay. The world must learn 
that. Hammond expected we’d give 
in—or fight him in the courts. He 
counted on that. He didn’t count on 
an opponent a lot tougher and quick¬ 
er on the draw than his own men. 
He didn’t count on a man who was 
savage to the core.” 

“A—a murderer!” 

Gale shook his head solemnly. 
“You must learn. The world must 
learn, too. Men like Hammond must 
be wiped out. Yes, Broom is a mur¬ 
derer, but he came from a place 
where mfirder was natural'—where 
standards of ethics were quite dif¬ 
ferent from ours. In Hammond’s or¬ 
ganization he saw something he un¬ 
derstood—something he knew how to 
fight—and so he did it, in his own 
way. The way that worked, when 
steel could cut through red tape.” 


The cubical device lighted; a pale 
cloud grew within it. Gale called 
sharply. 

" Richard Broom appeared through 
a distant doorway. He had not 
troubled to change his clothing or 
remove bloodstains. Beard bristling, 
he hurried toward the two men, blue 
eyes alight. 

“Is it finished, Gale?” 

“Yes. You have my gratitude. 
You have won a crusade for us.” 

Broom laughed. “This a crusade? 
These puny fools? Faith, they were 
nothing. But for the rest, I like 
not wizardry, and I like not this 
strange world of yours. I would as 
soon be in my prison again, held by 
the Duke, as learn your altered ton¬ 
gue and your curious weapons. A 
sword is best, after all. But—well, 
you asked my aid, and now you have 
had it. So God be with you.” 

He gripped Gale’s hand. The 
scientist, hobbling on his crutches, 
turned to the machine and swung a 
lever. The cloud within the cubicle 
thinned. 

Beyond, dimly glimpsed, were 
stone walls hung with tapestries. All 
was cloudy and dark. It is hard to 
see into the past.... 

But Broom, with a flashing smile 
for Gale, stepped through and was 
gone. The mist thickened again and 
faded. Then where the vision had 
been was nothing. 

Gale met Cheever’s wide eyes, and 
laughed a little. 

“You’ve guessed it, Jay. A time 
machine. I told you I was fooling 
with more than one gadget.... I 
picked Broom out of the past weeks 
ago, and asked his help. It took a 
while to train him to cope with mod¬ 
ern civilization—but he had his own 
standards of ethics, and they were 
the right ones to use against Ham¬ 
mond.” 

Cheever said, “Who was he?” 

“A murderer,” Gale said. “By our 
standards. Didn’t you know that 
Plantagenet means Broom? Your 
murderer was a king, Jay—Richard 
Coeur-de-Leon. What do you think 
of that?” 

But Cheever had no answer ready. 




THE MAN WHO SAVED 
... NEW YORK ... 

Poiky's ego just wouldn't stay in his own body, and 
that, believe it or not, was what saved the c ityl 



O F COURSE, as you know, I 
didn’t figure in the excite¬ 
ment over the Green Giant. 
The newspapers and the radio boys 
never mentioned me, or Lisbeth, or 
Baldy or even Porky Jenks. Why 
would they? We have kept strict¬ 
ly silent about the whole affair. Not 
from shyness; none of us are against 
a little wholesome publicity. But 
it never does one any good to be 
billed as a first class candidate for 
the nut-house. So that Green Giant 


who waded around in the ocean off 
Sandy Hook will remain a mystery. 

Not that I can actually explain 
him. I can’t. He’s as much a mys¬ 
tery to me as to anybody else. But, 
as it happened, there probably never 
would have been any Green Giant at 
all if it hadn’t been for me. I don’t 
mind telling the real facts, but I 
think it’s quite a bit safer for them 
just to go as fiction. You can take 
them or leave them, so to speak. 

And there’s another angle to the 


69 






70 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


thing. The war actually would have 
been won by now—if Lisbeth hadn’t 
queered it. Hitler would have been 
smashed and everything would have 
been just swell. I had it all planned 
—and then Lisbeth put the jinx on 
it. I’m sorry about that. But you’ll 
realize there’s not a thing I could 
have done. 

The queer affair began last Spring 
—a warmish afternoon when I was 
sitting in my study trying to figure 
out a plot. Porky Jenks came in to 
See me. I used to know Porky quite 
well, but hadn’t seen him for a cou¬ 
ple of years. He was a likeable young 
fellow, always with a ready laugh 
which is what made him so fat, I 
suppose. But this was a different 
Porky. He wedged himself down, 
collapsing in my only armchair. His 
clothes were rumpled as though he’d 
slept in them; his collar was wilted, 
hanging soggily on his bulging 
throat. His thin sandy hair was plast¬ 
ered on his sweating forehead; he 
pulled out a big blue handkerchief 
and mopped his face and just stared 
at me with pale blue eyes that looked 
haunted. 

“Well, well, Porky, glad to see 
you,” I said. “How are you?” 

“I’m awful,” he declared. Just out 
of habit, I suppose, he tried to laugh, 
but it was only a wan, sickly grin. 
“There’s—something the matter with 
me, Ray. Something terrible. That’s 
why I’ve come to you, see? You’re up 
on all that nutty stuff—the bizarre, 
the queer, the unbelievable—” 

“Oh,” I said. 

He stared at me with that haunted 
look. “Listen,” he said, “do I look 
crazy? Insane? A maniac? Tell 
me I’m not, Ray.” 

“You’re not,” I said. “Cheer up. 
What have you been doing with 
yourself? Last I heard you were just 
finishing college.” 

“I’m a hardware salesman. Retail 
trade. That is, I was, but what with 
the war and all, it’s no good.” 

“Tough luck,” I said. 

“It’s just as well. Walking so 
much made my feet hurt—they just 
wouldn’t stand it.” He sighed heavi¬ 
ly. “Maybe that’s why I’m in 4-F, 


too. That and my weight—my heart. 
But that’s nothing serious—” 

“Oh well, that’s fine,” I agreed. 
“But now—you’ve got some other 
trouble?” 

T HE haunted look came back into 
his earnest eyes. “I’ll have to 
tell you,” he agreed. “After all, 
that’s what I came here for.” He 
gulped. “Listen,” he said, “hang onto 
yourself—you’ll get a shock. The 
thing hit me just about a week ago. 
Like a bolt from the blue—I didn’t 
have any warning at all. I was feel¬ 
ing perfectly all right, honest.” 
“What hit you?” I prompted. 

“I was just sitting by the window 
of my boarding house room.” His 
voice had that awed, solemn tone 
like you use telling a ghost story. 
“When all of a sudden I wasn’t my¬ 
self at all. I was sitting in the chair 
all right—I knew that. But also I 
was a man walking down the street 
past my window.” 

“You were—what?” 

“A man walking past my window,” 
he repeated drably. “A perfectly 
strange man—and I was worried be¬ 
cause I was late getting home and 
my wife’d give me hell. I was hen¬ 
pecked, scared to death of her, see?” 
“No, I don’t see,” I declared. 

His fat hands made a hopeless 
gesture. “Well, that’s what I mean, 
Ray. You think I’m crazy. That’s 
why I can’t go see a doctor. He’d 
just slam me into an asylum or some¬ 
thing.” His chubby hands reached 
out and gripped my arm. “Listen— 
you’ve got to believe me. Anyway— 
I can show you—give you a demon¬ 
stration—it’s easy enough.” 

“Is it?” I said. 

“Sure it is. You see, my ego, id, 
personality or something, doesn’t 
seem to want to stay put in my body, 
any more. It—it wants to wander —’*■ 
“Let’s get this straight,” I inter¬ 
rupted. “You say you suddenly 
usurped the mind and body of some 
strange man walking down the 
street—” 

“Yes, that’s it! Usurpsed! That’s 
a good word, Ray. I was sort of 
conscious that he was confused, too— 
my usurping him that way. He kind 




The Man Who Saved Hew York ★ ★ ★ 71 


of resented it for a second or two— 
and then I guess he went blank. Any¬ 
way, I was in full control—” 

“And what did you do? With him, 
I mean.” 

“Oh. Well, I remember I decided 
I wouldn’t bother going back to my 
wife—his wife, I mean.” 

I could only nod. 

“So I went into a Bar and Grill 
and started to absorb whiskeys and 
soda and to the devil with his wife.” 

“And then?” I prompted. 

“Well, I can remember getting 
pretty blurry eventually. Seems like 
I was telling the bartender all my 
secret thoughts about the wife.” He 
smiled wryly. “And then I—well, 
you can’t blame me, Ray—it occurred 
to me I might be getting into some 
sort of jam. So I just—withdrew.” 

“Withdrew?” 

“I gave that little fellow back his 
body,” Porky said. He shrugged. 
“What else could I do? I just jerked 
myself back to my own body—in the 
chair by the window, see?” 

For a minute I couldn’t think of 
anything to say. I’ve juggled with 
weird things like that for years—but 
strictly on paper, you understand. 
Now, meeting one in real life gave 
me a creepy feeling. Because Porky 
was telling me the truth. I wouldn’t 
doubt it. He was plainly about 
frightened out of his wits. 

“You say you can do this any time 
you like?” I said at last. 

“Sure I can. That’s just the trou¬ 
ble—sometimes it’s almost involun¬ 
tarily, if I’m dozing, half asleep for 
instance, I just seem suddenly to 
slip into it. I got into a nasty jam 
just last night.” 

He waited for me to ask him, what? 
But I just stared at him. 

EEMS a man and his wife were 
having a big argument—the 
room over me ir my boarding house,” 
he went on. “I could hear them. I 
don’t know what possessed me but all 
of a sudden I decided to take the 
wife’s part. So I did. She was a little 
woman, but when my—my personal¬ 
ity got control of her—she’d always 
been meek, see? Afraid of the big 
bruiser, see? Well, anyway, it seems 


I changed all that in a hurry—” 
Porky smiled weakly. “Sort of hard 
to explain—” 

“I get what you mean. Go on.” 

“Well, the little woman took a few 
socks at him which surprised him—” 

“I should think it might,” I com¬ 
mented. 

“And just as he was socking back 
at her—” 

“You withdrew?” 

“Yes—yes I did. And that’s what 
worries me too, Ray. Not just for 
myself—this damned thing, see? It 
can work injustice to other people—” 

“Easily,” I agreed, “That hen¬ 
pecked husband getting home drunk, 
for instance.” 

“That’s what I mean.” He was still 
gripping my arm and his hands were 
shaking. “Ray, listen—a fellow 
oughtn’t to be able to do a thing like 
this. It’s not normal, is it?” 

“No,” I admitted. “No—certainly 
not exactly normal. But you’re not 
sick, Porky? Nothing seems to be 
the matter with you—except this, of 
course?” 

“No. If I wouldn’t be so scared I 
guess I’d feel all right.” He shud¬ 
dered. “But what am I going to do? 
Want me to show you how the thing 
works? It’s easy enough. Let’s look 
out your window here. You just 
pick out anybody—anybody at all—” 

"H"T was just then that Lisbeth and 
H- Baldy Green walked in on us. 
Lisbeth is my daughter. She’s a nice 
girl. And good looking—a mop of 
unruly, wavy brown hair, and a figure 
with curves in all the right places. 
She wants to be a career girl—a news 
photographer, newspaper reporter of 
the sob sister style maybe, with a big 
by-line and write feature articles; 
and maybe hold down the City Desk 
job and "publish the newspaper. A 
few little odds and ends like that. 
Baldy is a cartoonist on one of the 
big dailies. Middle aged, with a wife 
and six kids. A good friend of mine; 
and he had just gotten Lisbeth a job 
on his paper. Neither he nor Lis¬ 
beth had ever met Porky Jenks. I 
introduced them now. And then— 
because you had to do something to 
explain Porky’s frightened aspect— 




72 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


and maybe I didn’t look too normal 
either—I thought I’d better explain 
the problem in hand. 

Well, as you can imagine, Lisbeth 
and Baldy were pretty nonplussed. 
And skeptical. But Porky, more 
gloomy than ever at all this discus¬ 
sion, waved away their doubts. 

“Then let me show you,” he de¬ 
clared. “Pick anybody out there on 
the street. Anybody at all.” He 
shoved his armchair up to my open 
window, with us three standing 
around behind him. 

“Will it—will it hurt him?” Lis¬ 
beth asked. 

“It won’t hurt Porky,” I said. “But 
it might very easily hurt the other 
fellow.” I must admit the thing had 
me pretty jittery. I could begin to 
see the possibilities of what might 
,happen. The hazards, so to speak. I 
gripped Parky by the shoulder. “Now 
listen,” I told him. “You’ve evident¬ 
ly had a lot of luck so far. You 
haven’t killed anybody, have you?” 

He gulped. “Killed anybody? Oh 
my heavens no! How could I—” 

“Listen—suppose while you—er— 
have possession of some stranger— 
suppose you got killed?” I suggested. 
“Or committed suicide for instance?” 

“Oil please—please be careful,” 
Lisbeth put in. 

“It isn’t Porky I’m worried about, 
it’s the other fellow,” I said. “Look 
here. Porky—it only takes you a sec¬ 
ond to—withdraw, as you put it?” 

“Why—yes. Less than that, may¬ 
be. Instantaneous maybe—” 

“And so you’d be sitting here in 
your chair, but the other fellow 
would be dead.” 

“Don’t quibble,” Baldy said. “Let’s 
see him do it. That’s the important 
part.” Baldy also has a good imagi¬ 
nation, which is why his cartoons 
are so successful. “If he can do a 
thing like that, it’s a gift,” Baldy 
added with mounting enthusiasm. 
“Why, we can capitalize on it in a 
thousand ways—maybe make a for¬ 
tune—” 

“I just want to get rid of it,” 
Porky said. “But here goes-^just so 
you won’t think I’m crazy.” 

Well, he showed us, all right. A 
meek-looking old woman with a 


shawl over her head and an umbrella 
under her arm happened to come 
along, and at the busy intersection 
just under my window she stood 
looking confused, as though afraid 
of the traffic. 

“Try her,” Baldy suggested. “She 
looks like a weak character. You 
can take possession of a weak one 
better, can’t you?” 

“Doesn’t seem to make any differ¬ 
ence,” Porky said. “All right, she’ll 
do. Now just watch. Keep your 
eyes on her.” 

We were all of us pretty tense, I 
guess. I recall that I was trying 
to watch the old woman, and Porky 
simultaneously. There was the old 
woman, standing on the corner, nerv¬ 
ously waiting for the light to 
change; and then when it did, she 
seemed afraid to start across because 
cars were turning from the side 
street. And here in his chair, Porky 
just took a good, intense look at his 
victim. That was queer too. I saw 
a sort of predatory look jump into 
his pale blue eyes. And then he sat 
back in his chair with a hand up to 
his forehead. 

T HEN it happened. Down on the 
corner the old woman seemed to 
start; for a second she looked dazed; 
I think she gave a twitch. Here in 
the chair was a thud. That was 
Porky’s head falling back inert 
against the chair; and there he lay, 
motionless, in a trance. Lisbeth no¬ 
ticed him and gave a frightened lit¬ 
tle gasp. 

“He’s all right,” I murmured. 
“Shut up,” Baldy admonished. 
“Look—oh migosh, look at the old 
woman!” 

She was something to look at, no 
argument on that. The light had 
changed back, but that didn’t stop 
her. With imperious, if shaking 
steps, she strode out from the curb, 
holding up a hand to stop the traf¬ 
fic. By some miracle nothing hit her. 
And at the exact center of the in¬ 
tersection she stopped. 

“Oh-h,” I heard Baldy murmur. 
“She’s gonna direct the traffic!” 

That undoubtedly was her gen¬ 
eral idea. She had the closed um- 




The Man Who Saved New York ★ ★ ★ 73 


brella gripped in her hand, holding 
it over her head as she gestured for 
the cars to stop, or come forward. 
It was quite a sight. And in a min¬ 
ute or two there were a lot of sounds 
—cars honking, the drivers yelling; 
the grinding, bumping crash of a 
couple of minor collisions. How 
long it went on I have no idea. I 
was pretty scared. The vague im¬ 
pulse came to me that I ought to 
give Porky’s inert body a shake to 
rouse him; but I didn’t dare. What 
that would have done, heaven only 
knows. Anyway, down in the street 
policemen were coming on the run. 
The scene down there was quite a 
mess, with that old woman still vig¬ 
orously telling the traffic what it 
ought to do. Nothing had yet hit 
her. Then the policemen reached 
her; gripped her. The vague thought 
struck me that Porky would proba¬ 
bly think this the proper time to 
withdraw. Evidently he did. I saw 
the old woman stiffen and then go 
limp in the policemen’s arms; and 
here in the chair Porky gave a 
twitch, with his head coming up, his 
eyes open staring at me, and a nerv¬ 
ous smile on his lips. 

That was all there was to it. Just 
as simple as that.... Porky was the 
first of us to speak. 

“Well, there you are,” he said. 
“How’d it work?” 

“Take a look,” I told him. 

He looked. “See?” he said. “That’s 
what I mean. I got her in trouble 
and I didn’t intend it, honest.” 

Beyond any doubt the old woman 
was in trouble. Four policemen were 
telling her off; and then a radio car 
came and they bundled her into it. 

“That’s tough,” Baldy murmured. 
“How’s she gonna explain it? She’ll 
wind up in Bellevue.” 

“Well, he didn’t intend it,” Lis- 
beth said. Then she turned on me. 
“Why don’t you go down there and 
do something about it? Get her off 
—-you can just tell them—” 

f ‘Not me,” I said. “You go. And 
I’ll come to the asylum and try and 
get you out. This whole thing is 
crazy, and anybody connected with 
it—” 

“It may be crazy, but it works,” 


Baldy declared. “Listen, you lugs, 
don’t you realize what we’ve got? A 
gold mine! Fame! Fortune! Why 
listen, we’ll put Porky in the 
movies—” 

“I don’t want to go in the movies,” 
said. “I just want to get rid 

“He doesn’t have to if he doesn’t 
want to,” Lisbeth put in. 

“That’s silly,” I told Baldy. “What 
would it look like in the movies? 
Like nothing. Just trick photo¬ 
graphy.” 

“Well then, vaudeville,” Baldy de¬ 
clared. “The scientific wonder of the 
age. He takes possession of various 
people in the audience—” 

“Wouldn’t that make a hit with 
them!” I retorted. “It would not!” 

“I’ll bet we could get a thousand 
a week for it,” Baldy insisted. 

“I won’t do it,” Porky said. “I’d 
wind up in the insane asylum, or in 
jail. Listen, I came here to see Ray, 
just to ask him would he please—” 

I T was then that the big idea came 
to me. The war! Money is a 
wonderful thing, but what with all 
the publicity the war gets, naturally 
it’s on your mind even more than 
money. How could we use Porky’s 
gift to help with the war? I’ve al¬ 
ways had a vivid imagination, and 
this thing seemed suddenly to give 
it an immense stimulus. Lisbeth was 
about to tell Baldy and me again that 
Porky didn’t have to do anything he 
didn’t want to do, but I silenced her. 

“Look here, Porky,” I demanded, 
“why did you make that old woman 
direct traffic?” 

“I dunno, it just occurred to me. 
When I was a kid I always wanted 
to be a policeman when I grew up.” 

“That’s it!” Baldy exclaimed. “His 
subconscious! You see—” 

I interrupted him. “Porky listen, 
could you take possession of some¬ 
body who’s out of sight?” 

“Sure I could,” he agreed readily. 
“Remember? I told you—that wom¬ 
an in the room above me, arguing 
with her husband. I couldn’t see 
them.” 

“All right. Now then, could you—” 
Baldy interrupted me. He hap- 


Porky 




74 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


pened to be looking out the window. 
Down the street from me there’s an 
Undertaking . Parlour, with a Neon 
sign of ghastly green. “Say,” he 
^exclaimed, “here’s a thought! I 
wonder could he take possession of 
a corpse, for instance? There’s 
probably one over there in that Un¬ 
dertaker’s place. Suppose he made 
it come walking out! Think of how 
wonderful it would—” 

“I’m thinking about it and I won’t 
do it,” Porky declared. 

“I should say not,” Lisbeth agreed. 
“Dad listen, he’s told you ten times 
all he wants is to—” 

“Don’t be gruesome,” I told Baldy. 
“I’m thinking of something impor¬ 
tant.” 

“Like what?” Lisbeth demanded. 

“The war,” I said. “I’ve got it 
all worked out.” 

I told them. And I must say, it 
sounded even more feasible, telling it, 
that it did thinking it up. Nazi 
submarines are always lurking off 
our coast. We know that. 

“Like this,” I said. “We go down 
near Sandy Hook. Porky doesn’t 
actually have to see his victim—that’s 
been demonstrated. So he just 
mentally selects one of the lurking 
submarines and takes possession of 
its Commander.” 

“Do I?” Porky said. 

“You do.” 

“And then what do I do?” 

“You have him run his submarine 
up on the shore and smash it,” I told 
him enthusiastically. “Maybe the 
crew would get suspicious and stop 
you? If they did—then all you have 
to do is open valve and sink the sub. 
Or blow it up with one of its own 
torpedoes. I’m no expert on sub¬ 
marines, but don’t you see, when 
you’re the Commander you’ll know 
all about them. No trouble at all to 
find a dozen ways of blasting the 
whole thing to smithereens.” 

“And kill himself, too,” Lisbeth 
murmured. “Dad, I thought you had 
better sense than— 

“Not at all,” I explained. “In one 
split second he jumps out to the safe¬ 
ty of his own body which is with us 
on shore. That’s been demonstrated. 
Why, the thing’s perfect. One sub 


gone. Then he jumps into another 
one! And another! The Battle of 
the Atlantic is the big hitch in our 
war effort. You know that. Why, 
this will—” 

fijfcALDY was beginning to get the 
.M® bigness of my idea. “It’s per¬ 
fect!” he exclaimed. “Why, listen, 
when Hitler finds his subs just aren’t 
coming back, he’ll be afraid to send 
any more out! Then we can get busy 
on the Japs. Take a Jap battleship, 
for instance. Or a Jap General, or¬ 
dering all his men in the wrong di¬ 
rection ! What chaos! What a cinch 
for our forces—” 

“Well, I won’t do it,” Porky said. 
“It just wouldn’t work and I won’t 
do it.” 

“Why wouldn’t it work?” I de¬ 
manded. “Lisbeth, stop trying to tell 
me he doesn’t have to do what he 
doesn’t want to do. He does have to. 
This is too important a thing—” 

“It might work with just the first 
submarine,” Porky admitted. “But 
how do I know I can jump out of the 
Commander’s body with everything 
exploding around me? I never tried 
anything like that. Suppose I cal¬ 
culate it wrong and I’m dead before 
I jump. How do I know whether I 
can jump out of a dead body or not? 
I never tried it—” 

That made Baldy mad. “Listen, 
you big hunk of junk,” he said, “are 
you going to put your own personal 
safety ahead of a chance to win the 
war for Uncle Sam?” 

“More than just a chance—practi¬ 
cally a sure thing,” I agreed. 

“That’s because you and Baldy 
aren’t taking the chance,” Lisbeth put 
in. “You two are safe and he gets 
killed. For just one submarine. It’s 
suicide—just plain suicide and I 
won’t let him do it.” 

“All right, I’ll try it,” Porky said 
suddenly. “I’m no coward, if you go 
and put it that way. Only I sure 
hope it works.” 

I patted him on the back. “Good 
boy. That’s the stuff. Now listen, 
everybody, this thing will have to be 
kept absolutely secret, of course.” 

“Of course — definitely,” Baldy 
agreed. 




The Man Who Saved New York ★ ★ ★ 75 


“We’ll just go ahead and do it and 
say nothing,” I went on. “The war 
will be won in a hurry—and why it 
got won will be the mystery. Who 
cares, so long as we win it?” 

Well, we planned the thing for 
about an hour. It was so simple, 
though, there really wasn’t much 
planning to do. We decided that 
about eleven o’clock that same night, 
we’d all go quietly down near Coney 
Island or somewhere and go to work 
on the first sub that came within 
Porky’s range. The range was an 
unknown quantity, of course. But, 
so far as any of us could figure, there 
wasn’t any reason why Porky’s astral 
body couldn’t jump a mile—ten miles, 
for instance—just as well as from my 
window down into the street. 

“Well, let’s go to dinner,” I said at 
last. 

“I was thinking I would take Lis- 
beth to dinner,” Porky said. “Just 
to talk things over, you know.” He 
gazed at Lisbeth with sort of shy 
confusion I expect you’d call it, and 
she gazed back. 

“I’d like that,” Lisbeth said. “Come 
on, let’s go." 

“And you be back here by eleven 
o’clock promptly,” I warned. 

“Yes, of course—sure we will,” 
Porky agreed. 

“Because the war depends on you.” 

“Should you go A. W. O. L.,” Bal- 
dy put in—and he didn’t smile when 
he said it—“I will personally see that 
you get put into an insane asylum 
for the rest of your natural life.” 

|T OCCURRED to me to mention 
ji. that Porky could jump out of an 
insane asylum without much trouble, 
but I decided to keep that thought 
to myself. Lisbeth and Porky depart¬ 
ed with more promises; and Baldy 
and I had dinner and loafed around 
discussing the thing, waiting impa¬ 
tiently for eleven o’clock. About 
quarter past eleven Lisbeth and 
Porky came back. You’d have 
thought they might have spent the 
evening soberly discussing the weird, 
dangerous things into which Porky 
was about to plunge. Not at all. They 
had been to a double-feature movie— 
“Love’s Lingering,” and “Passion’s 


Pretty Flowers,” or something like 
that. They were very happy about it. 
But they sobered down when I men¬ 
tioned'that Porky had the fate of the 
war on his hands; and by the time we 
got down to the seashore Porky was 
looking a little white around the gills. 

“I sure hope this thing works,” he 
said weakly. 

“Of course it will,” Baldy and I 
assured him. We sat him down on the 
sand. It was a lonely stretch, with 
the waves rolling up in long rhyth¬ 
mic lines of white and the open sea 
a deep purple with leaden clouds 
overhead and a wan moon trying to 
break through. 

“Now then, make yourself comfort¬ 
able,” I told Porky as we stretched 
him out on the sand. “We’ll be right 
here by you all the time.” 

That didn’t seem to comfort him 
much. “I sure hope this thing works,” 
he said. 

With the fate of the war at stake, I 
sure hoped so myself; but I wasn’t 
going to express any doubts about it. 
Baldy and I sat down and lighted up 
our pipes. 

“Just keep your mind on the near¬ 
est submarine Commander,” I said. 
“And then jump into him and go to 
work. Then—withdraw. You’ll be 
back here with us instantaneously 
and we’ll start you right off again, 
it’s a cinch,” I assured him. 

“I sure hope so,” he agreed. 

“Nazi submarine Commander,” 
Baldy put in with sudden thought. 
“There might be a U. S. sub out 
there, Porky. Now listen—don’t you 
get this thing mixed—” 

“It’s just plain suicide—that’s what 
it is,” Lisbeth murmured resentfully. 
But Baldy and I silenced her. 

And then Porky went to work. He 
was stretched on the sand with head 
and shoulders propped up by his el¬ 
bows behind him. We all held our 
breaths. For a minute or two Porky 
just stared moodily out at the purple 
sea. Concentrating. Lisbeth was sit¬ 
ting beside him; she seemed afraid to 
look at him. 

“I won’t let him do it,” she mut¬ 
tered. 

“Shut up,” Baldy growled. “You’ll 
break the spell.” 




76 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


Then suddenly Porky gave a 
twitch. His body stiffened, then 
went limp. There was a little thud as 
his head and shoulders fell back onto 
the sand. Lisbeth gave a suppressed 
cry. Baldy and I exhaled; and then 
went back to puffing at our pipes. 
You’ve got to have poise in a thing 
like that; take it in stride, so to 
speak. 

“Well, he’s at work,” Baldy mur¬ 
mured at last. “Pretty soon we ought 
to be getting results.” 

“Yes,” I agreed. “I’ll bet those 
Nazi sailors on the sub are getting 
kind of surprised, just about now.” 

I could picture it. A startled won¬ 
derment spreading around the sub at 
the queer actions of the Commander. 
Or maybe the whole thing was ex¬ 
ploding just about now. 

More time passed. On the sand be¬ 
side us Porky’s body lay inert. You 
could hardly tell that he wasn’t dead. 
I could feel Lisbeth’s gaze roving 
Baldy and me as though we were a 
couple of murderers. Then all of a 
sudden Lisbeth gave a sharp, startled 
cry. 

“Oh, my heavens! Look! Look 
there!” 

We all saw it at once. Out in 
front of us, half a mile out maybe, 
the purple sea suddenly heaved up. 
There was a great cascade of water 
out of which a monstrous dark green 
shape rose towering two or three 
hundred feet into the air. The Oreen 
Giant! There he was. How can I 
describe him? I can’t. Not adequate¬ 
ly, because he was too awesome, too 
weird, too incredible—but there he 
was. A great green man-shape. 

T HE pallid moonlight shone on 
him—a green giant who must 
have been five or six hundred feet 
tall. He was wading waist deep in 
the water—wading, not at us, thank 
heavens, but parallel to the beach, to¬ 
ward Sandy Hook by the entrance to 
New York Harbor. The moonlight 
shone on his glistening torso—green 
scales and a slimy sea-look as though 
algae and barnacles might be clus¬ 
tered on it. A Green Giant almost 
in human form. Anyway, I remem¬ 
ber that he had a browny chest that 


bulged out over the ocean surface; 
wide thick shoulders and monstrous 
arms that dangled down into the 
water as he strode forward, with a 
line of white waves churning at his 
waist. I saw his face plainly. You 
couldn’t call it human, but that was 
its general idea. He was breathing 
through his mouth now with a snort 
that was a gruesome rumbling roar; 
but I could see that he had gills or 
some such apparatus in the sides of 
his neck. 

For a minute maybe Baldy and I 
and Lisbeth must have just sat there 
stricken, numb, with the body of 
Porky beside us. And then sudden¬ 
ly an immense amount of amazing 
things began to happen all more or 
less simultaneously. In the town 
behind us the air-raid siren began 
wailing. Then searchlights from 
several spots on shore sprang like 
great waving silver swords in the 
sky. Then, far out to sea there was 
the drone of planes. 

An air raid! New York City be¬ 
ing raided by Nazi planes! The 
Green Giant had nothing to do with 
the first alarm here on shore. It 
was planes coming in from the ocean. 
We heard them; and in a few seconds 
we saw them—four of them, flying 
low; Nazi planes—the moonlight dis¬ 
closed it. Who am I to try to pic¬ 
ture exactly what happened next? It 
was quite a chaos. All I can remem¬ 
ber is that one of the planes swerved 
low pretty close over the Green 
Giant. I imagine that Nazi pilot was 
sort of startled—can you blame him? 
Anyway, suddenly the giant let out 
a bellow of anger; his hand reached 
up a hundred feet or so over his head 
and grabbed the plane — seized it, 
crunched it maybe and then flung it 
away. The plane was a long finger of 
yellow-red flames as it fell hissing 
into the sea. 

I recall I heard Baldy mutter: “Ah 
—-good work! Very neat!”’ 

. Good work! That tipped me off. I 
admit that in all the chaos the main 
fact had not yet occurred to me. 
You’ve guessed it. Porky! By some 
mischance for Hitler, quite evidently 
Der Fuehrer had selected this par¬ 
ticular night for his threatened 




The Man Who Saved New York ★ ★ ★ 77 


bombing of New York. Here were 
his bombing planes—four of them. 
And there was Porky, in the person 
of that astonishing green giant, going 
to work on them. Those Nazi pilots 
evidently got rattled. They gave up 
their ideas of heading up the bay 
and for a moment were circling here 
like a flock of confused birds. They 
were too far away now for Porky to 
clutch at them, so he stooped. One 
of his hands came up out of the sea 
with a monstrous dripping boulder. 
He flung it, and another plane 
crashed. 

There was worse than chaos out in 
front of us now. A lot of our own 
planes were coming, interceptors that 
went like wasps after the two re¬ 
maining Nazis. One of Hitler’s 
prides seemed to be shot down; and 
Porky accounted for the other one— 
that green giant leaped into the air 
with a marvelous standing high 
jump, grabbed the Nazi plane with 
both hands and tore it into bits. But 
now a new element entered into the 
thing. Hitler evidently had a few 
subs around here. One of them ob¬ 
viously let loose a couple of tor- 
pedos at the giant. Distinctly I saw 
two explosions at the giant’s waist¬ 
line—torpedos that must have gone 
right into him and exploded inside. 
Anyway, he doubled up with a bel¬ 
lowing roar of pain that rattled our 
ear-drums and then he went down. 


sinking with a cataclysmic rush of 
white waves over him. 

I recall my fleeting thought that 
this would be just the proper time for 
Porky to withdraw. And he did. As 
the green giant fell and disappeared, 
the body of Porky here on the sand 
gave a convulsive shudder and in 
another instant Porky was sitting up, 
blinking, with a hand rubbing his 
forehead, and the other hand shoving 
away Lisbeth who was clutching at 
him. 

“W-well,” Porky said. “Here you 
are. What happened?” 

“Plenty,” I said. “A very great 
deal. But you did fine. Porky.” 

g B ALDY was on his feet, holding 
Ag off Lisbeth who was struggling 
to get at Porky. “Say, listen, you 
lug,” Baldy demanded, “where in the 
devil did you ever pick up that giant? 
It happened to work out all right, 
but—” 

“Why—I dunno,” Porky said. “He 
was just lying around down there—” 

“On his way in from Atlantis may¬ 
be?” Baldy was sarcastic. 

“I dunno. I was concentrating on 
a sub Commander—how bestial they 
are—you know, that sort of stuff— 
and all of a sudden I sort of slid into 
that giant.” Porky shuddered. “It 
was—horrible. But — when I saw 
those Nazi planes, I did my best.” 

“You did wonderful,” I agreed. 


LET THE LIVING BEWAREI 

"THE DEAD MAN DEALS 
IN DEATH" 

Don't Miss This Powerful Mystery Novel 

by T. W. FORD 

Also DAVID X. MANNERS, CARL RATHJEN, 
GRETA BARDET, and others. 


CRACK DETECTIVE 















78 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“You saved New York from maybe a 
nasty air raid. Now listen, the U-boat 
Commanders are still out there. All 
we have to do—” 

“If we had any sense we’d be get¬ 
ting out of here before we get into 
real trouble,” Lisbeth observed sud¬ 
denly. 

I could see that she had something 
there. This section of the beach was 
no longer lonely. Spectators were 
beginning to mill around; and there 
were Coast Guards, with searchlights 
darting at us, and planes roaring 
overhead. 

“Come on, let’s duck,” I agreed, 
“We’ll come back tomorrow night 
when things have quieted down a 
bit.” 

Baldy and I planned it enthusias¬ 
tically all the way back to the city. 
Barring the sudden advent of green 
giants and such, the thing obviously 
was absolutely simple. We' four 
could tour all the coasts. And then 
maybe arrange to get abroad. I fig¬ 
ured three months—if Porky could 
hold out—would wind up the war. 

That next day, Baldy and I made 
charts in regular military fashion, 
outlining our exact plan of campaign. 
We didn’t see Porky or Lisbeth that 
afternoon, or evening. They had 
wanted to have dinner together 
again, but had promised faithfully to 
report at my study by eleven p. m. 
They came, right on the dot. And 
they were both beaming. 

“Well,” I said. “Here you are. 
That’s fine. And you look in good 
shape for a swell night’s work, 
Porky.” 

“Yes, sir,” Porky agreed. “I’m all 
right. But you see, sir—there’s—er— 
something we want to tell you.” 

That “sir” sounded sort of queer, 
but I admit I didn’t get the idea. 

“He loves me and I love him and 
so it’s all settled,” Lisbeth said. 

I saw that Baldy looked startled. 
What I looked like I don’t know. 
“What’s all settled?” I demanded. 

“Us—er—we’re engaged,” Porky 
stammered. “That is—” 

“It absolutely is,” Lisbeth beamed. 
“He loves me and I love him. Defi¬ 
nitely.” 


To say that I was nonplussed 
would be putting it mildly. But I 
have always prided myself on having 
a true sense of values. What’s the 
problem of a daughter compared to 
the problem of winning the war? 
Nothing. Nothing at all. 

“Well, we’ll talk about that later,” 
I decided firmly. “Right now we’ve 
got a war on our hands. Come on, 
let’s get going.” 

But Porky didn’t look at all as 
thought he were ready to start. 
“Well,” he said, “that’s another 
thing I—er—have to tell you.” He 
looked very pleased. “I haven’t got 
it any more. I’ve, lost it.” 

Baldy came to life. “What’s that 
mean?” he demanded. “What in the 
devil haven’t you got any more? 
What have you lost?” 

“My—my gift—that’s what you 
called it,” Porky said. “It’s gone. 
Vanished. I can’t do it any more. I 
tried—honest I did—but it’s gone.” 

Lisbeth made an expressive ges¬ 
ture like one who wants to indicate 
that a fairy has just flown out the 
window. 

“He tried,” she said. “He really 
did.” 

“I’m no coward,” Porky added. 
“Didn’t I do fine last night? But 
it’s gone—I’m quite normal now.” 
He said that last with a very evident 
relish. 

“Because now your soul and heart 
and ego and such are all tied up 
with Lisbeth,” Baldy said sarcas¬ 
tically. 

“That’s it,” Lisbeth retorted. “And 
you don’t need to be sarcastic about 
it. He and I figured it all out—why 
would his ego want to roam abroad 
when it’s in my keeping—forever?” 
She and Porky were holding onto 
each other’s hands and gazing with 
that dying calf look. “He belongs to 
me now,” Lisbeth added. “His ego 
doesn’t want to go adventuring. Be¬ 
sides, if it did, I wouldn’t let it.” 

And there you are. I’m sorry about 
not being personally able to win the 
war, but you can see, there wasn’t 
a thing I could do about it. 


THE END 





Strange and utterly terrible were 
the flame-creatures who came out 
of nowhere to feast upon the hfe- 
energies of spacemen, stranded 
on Mars. But even more strange 
was the message Captain Jim 
received from the besieged 
Hardy: "We walk alonel" 


THE 

STELLAR 

VAMPIRES 


J OAN’S hair was a tumbled, 
red-gold glory. She shook it 
out with her pale hands in 
the cold light, and turned from the 
viewport, stared straight at me. 

“Jim, I’m frightened,” she said. 
“Why couldn’t they have signaled: 
‘We need help badly’ or ‘Emergency 
—come at once.’ Why did they waste 
powder on a message that just doesn’t 
make sense?” 

“Well, we ’ll know in a few hours,” 
I said. “Speculating about it won’t 


The radianca 
enveloped the 
stumbling tig- 
uze's head and 
shoulders — 
streamed out 
behind him, 
like a wind- 
watted cloak.. 


By Frank Belknap Long 


79 








80 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


increase our field drive, or give Hardy 
a shred of comfort.” 

Through the viewport. Mars looked 
a good deal like a huge copper coin 
flecked with blue-green verdigris. On 
both sides of it in the cosmic treasure 
chest, jewels sparkled, and there was 
a shawl of fine-spun gossamer in 
there, too—which could have been a 
spiral nebula. 

But all that stellar booty failed to 
interest me now. My nerves were 
taut as banjo strings; my eyes were 
riveted on the bronze coin, and the 
mottlings which were the funguslike 
plants of Mars, basking in the lush 
warmth of a perihelion summer. In a 
short while now, the warmth would 
become a withering blight and the 
polar ice caps would vanish com¬ 
pletely. 

You can’t do much exploring when 
the thermometer drops to minus nine¬ 
ty, Fahrenheit, on tropical nights and 
rises to a steamy one hundred and six 
at high noon. Normally, Hardy’s com¬ 
mand and my command would have 
gone rocketing back to .Earth at the 
height of the summer solstice. 

But there was nothing normal about 
a gravity plate that had resisted the 
tug of Mars only to buckle on little 
Phobos, crippling our ship on a blue 
moon that traveled in the wrong di¬ 
rection, and possessed a diameter of 
only eight minutes of arc when it 
was at its zenith. 

Under our feet it seemed like a lit¬ 
tle rock in the sky. To complicate 
matters, our short-wave transmitters 
had ceased to function, and we had to 
communicate with Hardy on Mars by 
magnesium flares, in the interplane¬ 
tary dot-dash code. 

We had repaired the gravity plate 
in record time, and were tuning up 
the atomotors when up from the rud¬ 
dy planet had come an exposing and 
eclipsing sequence of light. 

Flickerty — flash—flickerty—flash— 
flash “We—walk—alone.” 

Although we were close to Mars 
now, the the atomotors had built up a 
field drive which was giving me space 
nausea, and Joan a bad case of ten- 
sion-itis. 

She kept looking at me with her 
blue-gray eyes, disturbed, frightened, 


but yet trusting. I would never quite 
reconcile myself to the provisions of 
Spaceway Personnel Amendment 6Y9. 
Women were out of place on a Mar¬ 
tian expedition no matter what the 
regulations said. Joan was the best 
chart room assistant a Commander 
eve« had. But I still felt that the 
place for her was on Earth, surround¬ 
ed by orchids and soft music, and 
not between Mars and Phobos in a 
ship that kept threatening to burst 
asunder. 

In sudden desperation I strode to 
the intership communication coil and 
barked at the Chief Engineer: “Start 
decelerating, McCarthy. We’ve never 
built up such a speed as this. I—I 
don’t like the feel of it.” 

“Aye, aye, sir,” came from the Irish 
giant at the other end of the coil. 

Decelerating before you’ve hit the 
heavyside is tough on the engine 
lads, but I knew McCarthy could 
handle it. The Chief Engineer could 
surmount almost any challenge flung 
at him out of thin air by a commander 
with a catch in his voice. 

Almost before I could get the con¬ 
trol board stripped for emergency ac¬ 
tion we were making a perfect seven 
point landing. Cushioned by bursts 
of energy from her flaming rocket jets 
the Silver Queen circled downward 
in a wide arc, and berthed herself by 
scooping a four hundred foot hollow 
in the sand. 

T WENTY minutes later we were 
clambering through an airlock 
into the cold Martian dawn. Joan and 
I were the first to emerge, but by 
gripping a spanner bar the Chief En¬ 
gineer managed to drop to the sand 
ahead of us; it was his voice which 
rang out on the frosty air. 

“Sure, and they haven’t moved her, 
sir. It’s sealed she is —from the out¬ 
side!’’ 

Swaying a little, our breaths con¬ 
gealing on the frosty air, we stood 
staring up at the ghostily gleaming 
hull of Hardy’s ship. The hoar frost 
which covered her from stem to stern 
hadn’t begun to melt yet, and she 
looked more like a phantom ship than 
the sturdiest vessel ever built. 

She rested in a deep hollow between 




The Stellar Vampires ★ ★ ★ 81 


yellow-red hillocks of sand. A week 
before Hardy and I had stood on one 
of those high, tumbled mounds and 
discussed our divided command. 

Hardy's voice seemed still to hover 
on the frosty air. “You may as well 
get Phobos out of your system, Jim. 
I could draw you a map of what you’ll 
find there. Gray-blue soil and primi¬ 
tive rock structures, unweathered and 
dry. Bright, brittle stars—the Milky 
Way a burning spider web. But go 
ahead—get it out of your system.” 

With an effort I threw off the illu¬ 
sions of Hardy’s presence, and 
straightened. What had happened to 
him? The ship was sealed and no 
sound broke the stillness. I was as 
frightened now as Joan had been 
when the magnesium flare had chilled 
her. 

What had become of Hardy’s scien¬ 
tific staff? What had become of the 
crew? Hardy had kept the assistant 
engineer and four able-bodied sky¬ 
men. Where were they now? Had 
Hardy ordered the airlocks sealed and 
abandoned the ship deliberately? 
Good God, had he? 

It seemed unlikely. Hardy was not 
a man of suicidal impulses. He knew 
how quickly the temperature could 
drop, knew there could be no security 
if he abandoned the ship and erected 
a vacuum tent out on the plain. 

Even now the ghastly cold of the 
night before was waiting patiently to 
stage a comeback. The temperature 
was just below freezing, and there 
was a hazy blue tier of ice crystals 
obscuring the sun. 

Joan was shivering and plucking at 
my sleeve. “I think we’d better sepa¬ 
rate, Jim,” she urged. “We’ll break 
out in mental symptoms if we just 
stand here, and take on the awful 
loneliness.” 

I had an impulse to draw her into 
my arms. But McCarthy was nod¬ 
ding, and there was a look on his big, 
rugged pan which said as plain as 
words: “We’ve got to find Hardy be¬ 
fore a sand typhoon obliterates his 
trail. Sure, and the three of us can 
accomplish more by following the col¬ 
leen’s suggestion.” 

He had not the faintest idea of how 


I felt about Joan. Adjusting my oxy¬ 
gen mask I stared at him somberly. 

“McCarthy,” I said. “You’d better 
take the low road. Joan and I will 
take the high road. Every ten min¬ 
utes or so, you will use your trans¬ 
mitter. It should be good for ten 
miles, if we don’t get too much inter¬ 
ference from the heavyside.” 

“The high road and the low road” 
was a' standing joke between us. 
Hardy and I had noticed that the 
plain dipped directly behind his ship 
and rose in a gentle curve a short 
distance away. It wasn’t much of a 
dip, and it wasn’t much of a rise, but 
two searching parties walking in op¬ 
posite directions could quickly pass 
from each other’s sight. There wasn’t 
much on Mars to hide a body, but 
the distances blurred more quickly 
than on Earth, and when the wind 
started blowing yellow-red sand about 
—well! 

Unfortunately a compass with a 
needle that points is worthless on 
Mars. There is no magnetism at all 
on the ruddy planet; every five miles 
or so the needle of a compass reverses 
itself; you are better off if you don’t 
know what magnetism is. 

In fifteen or twenty minutes, Joan 
and I were out of sight of Hardy’s 
ship, and had a message from Mc¬ 
Carthy complaining that the tempera¬ 
ture was dropping fast, and that he 
had found no trace of Hardy or his 
men. 

’■'T IS wild and dismal on Mars, 
JL even when the sun shines down 
and melts the hoar frost. The vege¬ 
tation is monotonously blue-green 
and poisonous looking, and I was 
glad it was covered now with a thin 
coating of hoar frost. Joan’s brows 
were white, her hair ditto, and she 
kept stopping to slap herself and 
stare up at the sky. 

“A snow maiden wondrous fair,” I 
found myself thinking irrelevantly. 
There’s something about the thin, 
cold atmosphere of Mar’s which 
makes you retreat into yourself, and 
if you happen to have a companion 
like Joan you’ll look out at her from 
an ivory tower if you’re not careful. 

I was thinking thoughts which 




82 ★ * ★ Science Fiction Stories 


made me feel warm along my nerves, 
but all I said was: “Joan, how in 
blazes could Hardy stay out in this?” 

“I don’t know, darling,” Joan 
breathed. “But if it’s my advice 
you’re asking—” 

“Yes?” 

“It might be better if we didn’t 
stay out in it ourselves.” 

I nodded, and readjusted my oxy¬ 
gen mask. You can breathe the thin 
Martian air, but it is not pleasant to 
choke up, and feel half-suffocated. 

“Darling, it’s ashamed of my own 
weakness I am,” Joan whispered, par¬ 
roting McCarthy’s inverted Gallic 
idiom. 

“We’re turning back,” I said, with 
grim finality. I took a hitch in my 
gravity belt and turned my right foot 
in the direction of Hardy’s ship. 
Then, with a glance at Joan which 
brought a quick flush to her cheeks, 
I raised my left heel and started to 
execute a complete about face. 

Started only, for at that moment 
when my eyes were caressing Joan as 
though she were the last woman and 
the first forever and ever in my sight, 
I saw the stumbling figure. 

He was coming down the high road 
fifty yards ahead of us. Not actually 
on the road, but stumbling along 
where it crinkled into a sort of shal¬ 
low ditch before descending to the 
plain. 

Joan uttered a smothered cry, and 
stood motionless. 

“It’s Andy Macleod!” I heard my¬ 
self saying. For an instant the whole 
thing seemed so utterly unreal I 
wasn’t sure I had spoken. My voice 
had a nightmare quality and seemed 
to come from deep inside my head, 
as though I’d been yielding to a vo¬ 
cal impulse in some fantastic dream 
which hadn’t jelled yet. 

The radiance which enveloped the 
stumbling figure’s head and shoulders 
and streamed out behind him like a 
wind-wafted cloak was terrifying 
enough, but what made me fear I was 
going to be sick was the look of 
idiocy on his face. His tongue 
lolled and his eyes were rolled back, 
so that even from a distance of twen¬ 
ty yards they looked like white 


agates set in a jungle mask to scare 
away tribal ghosts. 

But there were no tribal ghosts on 
Mars, and no mask-makers. He was 
very close to us now and still stum¬ 
bling. Andy Macleod, Hardy’s geolo¬ 
gist. Only a week before I had 
thumped him on the back, and wished 
him luck with the red desert strata. 

I almost screamed when he went 
lurching past me. 

“Don’t touch him!” Joan warned, a 
dark blur of terror in her eyes. “Jim, 
be careful!” 

I had torched him. Lightly, on the 
wrist, for one awful second I re¬ 
turned Joan’s stare as though we 
shared a secret too horrible to talk 
about. Worse, I seemed to be top¬ 
pling backwards into an abyss away 
from her. 

I shut my eyes and tried to think 
of nothing at all. When I opened 
them I was on firm ground again. 

“The light must be an electrical 
phenomenon,” Joan whispered hoarse¬ 
ly. “Did it burn you, darling?” 

“No, it was as cold as his flesh,” I 
said. “We’ve got to get him back 
to the ship!” 

Joan shook her head. “No—don’t 
you see? If it’s a sleep-walking 
trance he’s in he may lead us to the 
others!” 

Her words sent a current of hope 
surging through me. 

“Good Lord,” I choked. “I never 
thought of that.” 

T HE admission had been wrenched 
from me, but I was not ashamed 
of it. In grim emergencies most 
women are more logical than men, 
and Joan was an exceptional woman. 

So quietly we moved you could 
have heard a pin dropping. Down 
the high road for eighty yards, and 
then recklessly out across the track¬ 
less waste in the wake of the stum¬ 
bling Scotchman. 

In some elusive, mysterious way 
we seemed en rapport with the aura 
of flickering radiance ahead, for 
when it dimmed a coldness seemed to 
tighten about our hearts. 

“It seems to fluctuate with every 
breath we draw,” Joan whispered. “I 
can’t explain it exactly. But it’s as 




The Stellar Vampires ★ ★ ★ 83 


though it were something alive, and 
had fastened on us! That’s the feel¬ 
ing I get, Jim.* I’m not superstitious, 
but I—I—Jim, it isn’t pleasant at 
all!” 

I had been noticing it, too. When¬ 
ever Macleod faltered, the light 
bunched itself like a terrestrial meas¬ 
uring worm and waited for him to 
recover his equilibrium. 

Suddenly the sky darkened, and 
Joan’s fingers bit into my wrist. 
“Darling, we’re going to have an 
eclipse,” she warned. 

“All right,” I said. “Just watch 
your footing, and keep close to me. 
If that flame doesn’t go out we’ll 
have enough light to see by.” 

Keeping our distance, we continued 
on. A seeming eternity roared over 
us while Phobos spun across the sun, 
imprisoning us in a maze of hunched 
and quivering shadows. Many times 
a year Phobos darkened its primary, 
but never so startlingly as now. For 
when the eclipse dwindled, the light 
that came back flickered on a vast, 
stationary bulk toward which a flame- 
enveloped human figure was stum¬ 
bling on an almost perpendicular 
plane. 

The object which towered directly 
in our path was unmistakably a ship, 
but no such vessel had ever been 
built on Earth, or would be—or could 
be. A plastic song it was, a threnody 
of metal flaking into rust. Its sym¬ 
metry was breathtaking, almost ter¬ 
rifying, and for an instant I was 
caught in such a tight web of awe 
that I felt like a man who has stum¬ 
bled into a museum to gaze up at 
some priceless work of art, while the 
city in which he dwells is being re¬ 
lentlessly bombed. 

The spectacle of a man stumbling 
upward through the empty air sent a 
chill coursing through me. But what 
drew my gaze with an even more 
compelling urgency were the ship’s 
ponderous end-vanes, half-buried in 
the sand, and the sheer massiveness 
of the hull. 

REMEMBER thinking we could 
M. never climb up a nearly vertical 
hull four hundred feet in height^ And 
I remember Joan shivering in my 


arms, tight and warm and clinging to 
me, and whispering that we could. 

“The hull’s corrugated, darling. We 
can’t turn back now. You’re worry¬ 
ing about me when you should be re¬ 
membering Spaceway Regulation H 
95. If Hardy was in trouble in an 
ice gleat on Neptune you’d get 
through to him if your hands 
dropped off.” 

Her mouth altered from a wet 
curve to a tight, thin line. “Stop 
ruffling my hair, darling, darling. 
We’ve got to see this through. You 
won’t lose me if I don’t slip—and I 
don’t think I will.” 

Less clearly I remember the climb 
itself, with Death checking off the 
odds in millimeters every inch of the 
way. Although the hull was heavily 
corrugated even the most heat-resist¬ 
ant metal gets smelted down a little 
by the vicissitudes of space, and the 
odds seemed a hundred to one against 
our reaching the flyspeck mottling 
high on the hull through which Mac¬ 
leod had vanished, after dwindling to 
the dimensions of a gnat. 

But reach it we did, to discover 
that it was a light-rimmed aperture 
a little larger than the Silver Queen’s 
gravity ports. 

“You go first, darling,” Joan whis¬ 
pered. 

I nodded, squeezed her hand, and 
rotated myself into the midst of the 
glow over what appeared to be a 
revolving handrail, but was probably 
a device for opening and closing the 
port. Looking down, all I could see 
was a nebulous glimmer. I might 
have twisted around more and taken 
a longer look, but my hands sudden¬ 
ly slipped and I did a hyperbola that 
brought the radiance swirling up 
about me. 

I landed heavily on something soft 
that groaned and then grappled with 
me. A soft thud behind me told me 
that Joan had descended, but I did 
not swing about. The hands that 
tugged and clawed at me had no 
strength in them and the eyes that 
burned into mine were feverish with 
torment. It seemed as if it were 
not really I that was standing there, 
but someone whom I watched from 
a distance. 




84 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“Captain Hardy,” I whispered. 
“Captain Hardy.” 

He recognized me the instant I 
started shaking him. His lips began 
to move and his hand tightened con¬ 
vulsively on my wrist. 

“Jim, get out of here!” he moaned. 
“Get out—get back to—the Silver 
Queen. Clamp—clamp down—the 
gravity ports. Jim, you hear? Jim? 
Blast off!” 

“Hardy, listen to me,” I husked. 
“We’re not running out. We’ve come 
to—” 

“No, you listen, Jim,” he pleaded. 
“It’s our fuel supply—our Uranium 
235. If they get our uranium we’ll 
never see it again. I’ve sealed up 
my ship, and now we mustn’t talk 
mustn’t even think about it.” 

His clawlike fingers tightened on 
my wrist. “Jim, they can move with 
the speed of light. That’s why they 
leave the ports unguarded. Yester¬ 
day MacLeod tried to escape. He— 
he got as far as the ship. They didn’t 
kill him, but when they brought him 
back—” 

Hardy’s voice sank to a hoarse 
whisper. “Second degree burns, Jim 
—on his chest, thighs and back. All 
I could do was puncture the blebs 
and assure him the agony wouldn’t 
kill him.” 

“But you sealed up the ship,” I 
said, huskily. “How did you get back 
to it?” 

“I was with one of the flames, Jim 
—out on the plain,” he replied. “But 
something happened to it. It swirled 
away from me and disappeared be¬ 
hind my ship. I sealed all the ports 
before it swirled back. Perhaps it 
was another flame that came for me. 
It’s impossible to distinguish between 
them.” 

“But why do they—” 

“Jim, they know we’re keeping 
something from them. But it takes 
them a long time to get what we’re 
thinking. They have to concentrate 
and we can block them by repeating 
nursery rhymes. Anything—a n y 
meaningless jingle.” 

H ARDY’S face twitched. “What¬ 
ever you do, don’t think about 
our fuel supply. They’ve never used 


U-235 as a fuel, but they’ve built 
up a crude and sketchy picture of 
our world, our science, from our ran¬ 
dom thoughts.” 

“You mean we’ve two chunks of 
U-235 to guard now,” I asked. 

Hardy nodded. “With all the 
strength of our minds. The Silver 
Queen isn’t sealed, and they may get 
at the secret anyway. They are 
familiar with the phenomenon of 
radioactivity, and the release of 
atomic power by trigger-neutrons in 
water-jacketed U-235 would not be 
beyond their comprehension. We’re 
short on rations now and in another 
month our supplies will be exhausted. 
If they steal our fuel we’ll be done 
for. If they even suspect they can 
use uranium to produce the energies 
they need—” 

He broke off abruptly and cringed 
back against the wall with a con¬ 
vulsive shudder. 

The flames hovering at the end of 
the passageway were chillingly in¬ 
determinate in outline. Not formless, 
exactly, but the queer thing was that 
they seemed conical only when they 
remained completely stationary. The 
instant they swayed they seemed to 
fluctuate in thickness, losing their 
curvature and becoming almost two- 
dimensional. 

Time seemed to stand still for an 
instant. I was aware of Hardy’s harsh 
breathing and Joan’s slim moist hand 
fumbling for mine in the dim cold 
light. More slowly I became aware 
of words forming in my mind, and 
running like quicksilver through the 
blurred mazes of my consciousness. 

“Are you the other Captain? 

“Are you the other Captain? 

“From Phobos? From Phobos?” 

Then: “We don’t know a damned 
thing about machinery.” 

Somehow I knew that though they 
were communicating with me tele- 
pathically the words which formed 
in my mind only imperfectly de¬ 
scribed the images which accom¬ 
panied them. I knew, for instance, 
that “machinery” was not a strictly 
accurate word, for it conjured up a 
vast complex of glowing cones and 
prisms. 

“We don’t know a thing about ma- 




The Stellar Vampires ★ ★ ★ 85 


chinery. Our Captain expired—heart 
attack. Our food is exhausted and 
we are suffering from scurvy. We 
must—drain you.” 

Gradually it dawned on me that 
they were using my own mental con¬ 
cepts to describe a tragedy that had 
no exact parallel in human exper¬ 
ience. Concepts which they had taken 
from Hardy’s mind and the minds 
of his men and fitted together to form 
what Hardy had called “a crude and 
sketchy picture of our world.” 

T HEY had lost the shining light 
which had guided them across 
the Intergalactic night. They had 
lost their “Captain.” They did not 
know how to navigate the ship be¬ 
cause they were “passengers.” 
“Scurvy” was ludicrous, of course 
but it apparently meant they were 
suffering from an energy deficiency 
—nutritional to them. “Heart attack” 
suggested some sort of vital collapse. 
Perhaps an energy flareup had burnt 
their captain out. 

They had used one word which I 
did not like. “Why should you wish 
to drain me?” I asked. “To drain 
me of what?” 

Although Hardy had stressed that 
it took them a long time to get what 
we were thinking I wasn’t prepared 
for the confusion which ensued. 

“Of-of-of-of-of-what? Of — what? 
What, what, WHAT? Drain, drain, 
DRAIN? Repeat. Repeat the 
thought.” 

I complied slowly—three or four 
times. 

“We wish you drain you of in¬ 
formation, knowledge,” came at last. 
“We need your help. With the ma¬ 
chinery, the engines. The female- 
no, girl, GIRL, can help us with the 
engines.” 

Joan gave a little, choking gasp. 
She had studied engineering and 
knew a good deal about machinery. 
Our kind, of course. Seemingly the 
flames had tapped her mind, and— 
The next thought came with terri¬ 
fying suddenness. “We feast on 
radiant energies. Protoplasm—your 
bodies—mildly radioactive. We must 
drain you of warmth. We must— 
take you for a walk.” 


As the terrifying words came a 
whip seemed to catch me on the for¬ 
ward and tightened, so that I went 
reeling backward. The flames were 
swirling down the passageway to¬ 
ward me, but I scarcely saw them. 
My temples were pounding and my 
gaze was riveted on Joan’s white 
face. 

Even as I staggered back I had a 
torturing picture of her youth and 
beauty withering as the flames hud¬ 
dled close to her. She was looking 
at me as though I were a great, help¬ 
less stag whom someone had shot, her 
hands pressed to her threat. 

I knew she wasn’t thinking of her¬ 
self at all. She was visualizing the 
Commander of the Silver Queen be¬ 
coming a gaunt, hollow-eyed skele¬ 
ton, and finally—slumping in sheer 
exhaustion as Macleod had done. 
MacLeod’s stupor had been sufficient¬ 
ly deep to relax the lineaments of 
his face, and it seemed likely I would 
soon be wearing the same look of 
drooling idiocy. 

There was no ladder leading to the 
port above, but directly behind me 
was a yawning, dark opening in the 
deck. Where it led I neither knew 
nor cared. My one thought was to 
spare Joan the agony of being 
dragged over the plain, and down 
into the “engine room” to labor in 
torment over the maze of glowing 
cones and prisms I had seen as 
though in a glass darkly. 

As I swung about a look passed 
between us which needed no inter¬ 
preting. Swiftly, steadily, I gath¬ 
ered her in my arms. The warmth 
of her body was good to feel. It 
steadied me somehow. Her cheeks 
were cool against mine and there was 
no longer any panic in my heart 
when I leapt. 

Falling through darkness I remem¬ 
bered thinking that they couldn’t 
take us for a walk now. Couldn’t, 
couldn’t— 

W|| ARLING—” a voice moaned. 

B 9 I reached out and felt 
around me. An acrid odor assailed 
my nostrils, and there was a buzzing 
in my ears which grew steadily in 
volume. 




85 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


I was stretched out on a cold, hard 
surface, my limbs twisted painfully 
under me, my chest constricted by a 
dislodged gravity belt. Groaning, I 
pushed the belt down to my waist, 
and arose to a sitting position. As 
I did so memory came rushing back 
with a roar as of great wings unfold¬ 
ing. 

I saw again the yawning aperture 
in the deck above, and the hovering 
flames and Joan’s white face. And 
again I seemed to be falling through 
darkness with my darling in my arms. 

It was an illusion, of course, pro¬ 
duced by a swirl of returning me¬ 
mories following too closely on a 
jarring shock. All about me towered 
cyclopean cones and prisms suffused 
with a pale blue radiance. As I stared 
into the unearthly glow a dizziness 
swept over me. I shut my eyes and 
opened them again slowly. 

Joan was lying a few feet away, 
separated from me by a triangular 
cluster of glowing prisms. She was 
moaning and trying to rise. Sudden¬ 
ly she seemed to sense my gaze. Her 
lips trembled and her eyes met mine. 

“Dearest, help me—” 

Swaying, I stood up and started to¬ 
ward her. Started only, for there 
was something wrong with my feet. 
When I tried to move them I seemed 
to stumble over them. My knees 
buckled, and the deck began to move 
out from under me. With a shatter¬ 
ing crash I sprawled forward, strik¬ 
ing three of the prisms and sending 
a livid spurt of light lancing up¬ 
ward. 

Instantly other lights flashed and 
pinwheeled all about me. There was 
a heavy roar and then—utter, un¬ 
natural silence. Then movement 
again, a sensation of rocketing mo¬ 
tion. More lights flashed, spurted, 
and the droning which ensued muted 
the roar of the “engines.” 

Something seemed to spin me 
about, and I had a sensation of yawn¬ 
ing emptiness, of gulfs upon gulfs 
dropping away beneath me. I 
groaned, and tried to pull myself 
back up over the'shattered prisms. 

I pulled myself back, but it wasn’t 
over prisms. It was over a mound 
of tumbled red sand, with the dust 


of a beginning desert typhoon rattl¬ 
ing against my oxygen mask and a 
scream echoing in my ears. 

“God, Jim, we’re outside!” 

Hardy was half-buried in the sand, 
but his mouth was clear and one leg 
and the arm with which he was ges¬ 
ticulating. Macleod was right above 
me, but he couldn’t speak at all. His 
mouth was choked with sand, and he 
was groping for his oxygen mask and 
taking a terrific lashing from the ris¬ 
ing storm. 

Hardy’s scientific staff were pretty 
well scattered. Meade and Miles a 
hundred feet apart, and Jackson at 
the apex of what was practically a 
triangle. In the space between Joan 
had fallen to her knees and was still 
trying to rise. Together in a hollow, 
their faces purple-blue, were able- 
bodied spacemen Phillips, Grayson, 
Gerick, and Stanley. 

“Jim, lad, it’s outside we are!” 

I crawled toward Joan on my hands 
and knees. She was deathly pale and 
would be needing strong arms about 
her. 

“Darling,” I husked, lifting her to 
her feet. “Are you all right? Are 
you—” 

“Don’t be silly,” she said, wrinkling 
her nose at me. “I never felt bet¬ 
ter in all my life. I never—” 

She swayed and—went limp in my 
arms. 

T HE wonder of it widened our 
eyes all the way home. Widened 
our eyes and diverted our minds from 
navigation as we blasted our way 
across the void, Hardy in his ship 
and I in mine, with McCarthy and 
Joan horning in, talking, arguing 
about it in the audiovisidisk till the 
blue-green Earth filled a third of the 
sky above us. 

“Sure, Captain,” McCarthy said. 
“From what you tell me, it wasn’t 
uranium they needed for that ship 
at least. It was a space-time travel¬ 
ler, and where it came from we’ll 
not be knowing.” 

“I guess you’re right, Mac,” I said. 
“When I smashed those prisms 
things started humming. The ma¬ 
chinery must have built up tremend¬ 
ous vibrations which warped space. 




The Stellar Vampires ★ * ★ 87 


The continuum buckled, and that 
ship was sucked back into space-time 
in the direction of motion. It was 
probably a Fitzgerald contraction 
traveler.” 

“You mean the dimension warp 
ripped away most of its mass, and not 
being yourselves in motion we were 
spilled out through the infra-radiant 
bulkheads?” Joan asked. 

“Exactly.” 

“But the flames were not spilled 
out, Jim.” 

“I imagine the flames vibrated with 
the ship,” I said. “You can’t travel 
through space-time unless you vi¬ 
brate with the traveling vehicle. Peo¬ 
ple who don’t think things through 
are apt to overlook that angle.” 

“Sure and it’s nothing but luck I’m 
wishing them,” McCarthy said. “In 
their shoes we’d have done the same.” 

“They wore spiked-shoes, Mac,” I 
grunted. “But this I’ll say for them. 
We’ll not be seeing their likes again. 
We thought it was a magnesium 
flare which brought us back from 
Phobos—” 

“I sent no flare,” Hardy’s image 
said in the Silver Queen’s audiovisi- 
screen. 

“You and your nursery rhymes,” 
I gibed. “To keep from thinking 
of our fuel supply you hummed 
nursery rhymes, eh?” 

“I guess, I fell to brooding,” Hardy 
admitted. “Instead of ‘Mary had a 


little lamb’ I kept repeating despair- 
fully a line from the poet Blake: 
‘We walk alone.’ It still kept me 
from thinking about uranium.” 

“It didn’t keep you from think¬ 
ing about the message you wanted 
to send,” I said. “You kept think¬ 
ing over and over, ‘I’d like to send 
a message to Phobos to warn Jim.’ 
Over and over until, suddenly, that 
flame caught on. 

“There was ‘another captain’ on 
Phobos who might know more about 
flame nutrition and how to navigate 
a space-time traveler with cones and 
prisms for engines than Captain 
Hardy. It had picked up the dot- 
dash code from your random 
thoughts and since you kept repeat¬ 
ing: ‘We walk alone’ it assumed that 
those three words, sent across space, 
would bring the other captain back 
to Mars. 

“So, not being human and all 
wrapped up in self it went out on 
the plain, alone, and burnt itself out 
in convulsive flares. 

“Flickerty-flash — flickerty — flash 
— flash — flash — “We walk alone.” 

“Sure,” McCarthy grunted. "It’s 
but taking the high road you are 
to say what you’ve plainly been 
thinking. It’s a starry Victoria 
Cross that flame should be wearing, 
Jim, lad—eh, I mean, Captain.” 

THE END 


WE KNEW IT ALE THE TIME 

Science fictionists weren't at all surprised, early this year, when the dis¬ 
covery of a planet, revolving around a sun outside the Solar System was an¬ 
nounced. Having explored the entire cosmos, science-fiction writers, and read¬ 
ers merely lifted an eyebrow and murmured: "It's about time." 

The planet in question rotates around the sun 61 Cygni and is estimated 
to be to that star as Jupiter is to our own sun, according to a dispatch published 
in the New York Times some weeks back. Discoverer was one Dr. K. Aa. 
Strand. 

The interesting feature about this discovery, however, is the name selected 
for the planet. It seems that the Roman and Greek pantheon has been pretty 
well used up in naming celestial bodies. And this particular planet deserved 
something better than the cognomen of some obscure demigod. So Dr. Strand 
did the sensible thing; he went to the Egyptian pantheon, which hasn't been 
used at all so far, for this purpose, and dubbed the brand new world Osiris. 

We wonder who the first fictional hero to land upon Osiris will be, and 
if he'll discover a world peopled with beings similar to the Egyptian god- 
creatures. As you'll recall, they were rather fascinating entities! 






The time-machine had been tested and approved by the best 
scientists and physicists in the Reich; Geopolitik had mapped out 
plans for its use. But Hitler had his own personal ideas on how this 
machine could change history — and in a sense, he was right; it 
did change history! 


ICTORY!” 

The word had re¬ 
sounded through the 
halls of Berchtesgaden before. But 
this time they carried a new mean¬ 
ing, for they came from the lips of 
Adolf Hitler. 

The sallow little man standing be¬ 
fore him in the private apartment 
smiled humbly. 

“I am pleased and honored that the 
Fuehrer approves of my work,” he 
whispered, huskily. “If the Fuehrer 
desires, I can explain the principles 
on which my time-chamber operates.” 

Hitler’s hand rose to command 
silence. 

“Your theories? My dear Schultz, 
your theories do not matter. Your 
time-machine has been inspected, 
tested, and approved by the most 
eminent physicists and scientists in 
the Reich. We of the Reich are 
thorough. If your claims were not 


founded in truth, you would not now 
be my guest in Berchtesgaden.” 

Adolf Hitler rose, leaned forward. 
“Ah, no, I do not concern myself 
with your theories of invention. It 
is enough that you have achieved the 
seemingly impossible. You have 
constructed a working model of a 
machine capable of transporting men 
or objects through time itself.” 

“Yes—” 

Hitler’s frown cut off the sallow 
inventor’s reply. 

“It means victory, do you under¬ 
stand? Victory!” 

He advanced across the room to 
the vast, gleaming silver shell which 
rested weirdly in the center. His 
fingers rose to press against the 
metal surface. 

“We of the Reich move swiftly, 
Schultz,” he whispered. “Already 
the Geopolitik has prepared for me 
a complete documentary survey of 




The Machine That Changed History ★ ★ * 89 


the potentialities inherent in this re¬ 
markable invention. It shall be of 
invaluable assistance to us in the 
days to come.” 

Schultz smiled. 

“I too have dreamed,” he mur¬ 
mured. “We could build many hun¬ 
dreds of these and with them move 
forward or backwards in time as we 
willed. We could attack—” 

Hitler shook his head. 

“The expense is too great. Besides, 
I have other plans. Plans I mean to 
execute swiftly. Which reminds me. 
You have the documents concerning 
this invention of yours?” 

Schultz nervously proffered his 
briefcase. 

“The method of operation is sim¬ 
ple. A child could master the con¬ 
trols. Mathematical calculations are 
almost unnecessary, due to the prin¬ 
ciples of spatial inhibition embodied 
in the construction.” 

“In other words, it is all here in 
this briefcase—all that is essential to 
the building and operation of the 
time-chambers?” 

“That is correct.” 

Hitler smiled. 

“Then, Herr Schultz, our little in¬ 
terview is at an end.” 

His hand went to a buzzer. 

The blacfi^hirted man entered 
quietly. He took Schultz by the arm 
and ushered him out. 

“Heil Hitler!” 

Hitler nodded. “Germany will not 
forget your contribution, Schultz,” he 
said. 

T HE door closed. Hitler sat alone 
in the room, staring at the brief¬ 
case, then at the silver chamber of 
the time-traveller. 

He pressed a buzzer on the inter¬ 
communications system. 

“Kellzer? Bauer has taken Schultz. 
He has his orders. Dispose of the 
body quickly. Notify his relatives 
of the accident as planned.” 

He released his finger. Again Hit¬ 
ler sat back, his stare intensified. 
Again he sounded the buzzer. 

“Kellzer? Send Eglitz to me at 
once. Eglitz. Gestapo staff. The 
linguist.” 

Within a space of a few minutes, 


young Karl Eglitz clicked his heels 
smartly before the Fuehrer’s desk. 

“Heil Hitler.” 

“Eglitz—you have heard of what 
has been going on?” 

“The Fuehrer refers to this Schultz 
person and his invention?” 

“Yes.” 

“I assisted in drawing up the re¬ 
port on it.” 

“Good. Then you understand. 
Eglitz—do you think you could 
operate this machine?” 

“I do.” 

“Eglitz—do you speak French?” 

“The Fuehrer must know that I 
have lived in France.” 

“So.” Hitler was silent for a mo¬ 
ment. “Eglitz—I have heard good 
reports of your character and ability. 
You are a reliable man.” He paused. 
“I have a mission for such a man.” 

“I am honored.” 

“It is a mission of the utmost im¬ 
portance, and as such it is extreme¬ 
ly confidential. No one will know 
of it but the two of us.” 

“The Fuehrer forgets that the 
Geopolitik knows of ttie uses to 
which the machine will be put.” 

“Wrong, Eglitz. This is a mission 
of my own—one that the Geopolitik 
never dreamed of. Eglitz, I have 
conceived of a use for this time- 
chamber which will stagger human¬ 
ity. And you shall carry it out! 

“It is a mission that will win the 
war—win the world! It embodies 
an idea so stunning in its impact 
that even I, whose inspiration con¬ 
ceived it, am humbled before it.” 

“The Fuehrer can trust me.” 

“Then listen, Eglitz. Listen to the 
mission I have planned for you. Lis¬ 
ten intently.” 

Hitler whispered. Eglitz listened. 
His mechanical smile never left his 
face, but as the Fuehrer continued, 
a little gasp rose involuntarily from 
his throat. Beads of moisture ap¬ 
peared upon his forehead. His hands 
clenched. And still Hitler whispered 

“So. That is your mission, Eglitz. 
Do you think you can carry it out?” 

The Gestapo man’s voice quavered. 
“I—might,” he managed. “It will 
take several days of preparation. Re- 




90 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


search. I must find out when he was 
in Cologne. We must take the ma¬ 
chine there, too. I must study docu¬ 
ments pertaining to his daily routine, 
pick a time.” 

“The resources of the Reich are 
yours to command,” Hitler answered. 
“You must not fail. If you succeed, 
we shall triumph beyond our wildest 
dreams.” 

“I shall prepare.” Eglitz backed 
towards the door. 

“Heil Hitler.” 

Hitler sat alone once more, smiling 
still. Suddenly he rose and walked 
to a corner ledge. 

A little bronze bust rested there 
•—the head of a stout man with pierc¬ 
ing eyes; a man whose hanging fore¬ 
lock rested on a majestic brow. 

Hitler stared at the bronze head 
and his smile widened. 

“They say you were master of 
Destiny, too,” he whispered. “But I 
wonder if you ever dreamed of an 
enterprise as great as this? An en¬ 
terprise defying space and time? You 
crossed the Alps—but I cross cen¬ 
turies. Napoleon, the world will soon 
learn you have a master!” 

The time-chamber, the bronze bust, 
and the ruler of Germany stood mo¬ 
tionless in the twilight while Des¬ 
tiny wove a web to enshroud them 
all. 

T HE smile had not faded from 
Adolf Hitler’s face before the 
wavering outlines of the metal cham¬ 
ber disappeared from sight. The room 
in Hitler’s Cologne headquarters still 
pulsed with the humming vibrations 
of the time-chamber. Eglitz had en¬ 
tered it and disappeared. And now 
the chamber had disappeared. 

For a moment there was nothing¬ 
ness. Then slowly the blurring con¬ 
tours of the silver machine material¬ 
ized, looming irrationally out of the 
air in the way a slide specimen 
emerges from a blank microscopic 
field. The humming vibration in¬ 
creased as the chamber solidified. 
Then came silence. 

Hitler strode forward abruptly. 
“Something has gone wrong,” he 
rasped. “A mistake—” 

The compartment door opened 


slowly in the silver side. The tall 
figure of Eglitz emerged stooping 
through the doorway. Eglitz drew 
himself erect in formal salute. 

“Heil Hitler.” 

Adolf Hitler stared in astonish¬ 
ment. Eglitz had changed. His 
usual uniform was gone. Instead he 
wore a gaudy scarlet coat with green 
pipings, and his braided yellow trous¬ 
ers were tucked into shiny black 
boots. A sword dangled from an 
elaborate scabbard fastened about his 
waist by a white sash. In one hand 
he carried a bushy black busby with 
a green cockade. Moreover, his 
usual smooth-shaven countenance had 
disappeared under an imposing false 
mustache which quite dwarfed Hit¬ 
ler’s own. 

“Eglitz—back so soon?” 

“Surely the Fuehrer realizes I 
have been absent a week?” 

“A week? Are you raving, im¬ 
becile? You have been gone less 
than ten seconds.” 

“Time—a week to me, ten seconds 
to the Fuehrer. It is relative, as 
Einstein has it—” 

“Do not mention that person’s 
name,” Hitler scowled. Then, “Speak 
up, man! What of your mission? 
Did you get there? Was he there? 
Did you bring him?” Hitler’s voice 
quivered with frantic impatience. 

“I am pleased - to report to the 
Fuehrer that, according to instruc¬ 
tions, I arrived at the Imperial Pal¬ 
ace at Cologne on July sixth, 1807, 
at 9:15 p. m. In keeping with my 
orders, I assumed the disguise of 
military attache of the Grand 
Army—” 

“Where is he?" 

Hitler’s voice was a knife. 

“I am here.” 

T HE low tones came from the 
throat of the man in the door¬ 
way of the time-chamber. 

Hitler stared. 

The short, stocky figure descended. 
Hitler stared into the swarthy, fleshy 
face, stared at the majestic brow and 
the hanging forelock, stared into the 
deep-set, burning eyes of 
“Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of 
the French!” 




The Machine That Changed History ★ ★ ★ 91 


He whispered the words. 

The little man inclined his head. 

“Indeed, sire. And you are—” 

“Reichsfuehrer Adolf Hitler.” 

Two hands clasped. A fat, pudgy 
hand, and a lean, limp one. Two 
hands clasped—hands that had held 
the earth and crushed it, each in 
their time._ Two hands clasped 
across the centuries. The hands of 
Napoleon and Hitler. Hands that 
wrote history. 

Eglitz stood there, gaping. 

Hitler turned. 

“Eglitz—I’d forgotten about you. 
You may go now. You deserve a 
rest after your journey to secure our 
distinguished guest.” 

“The Fuehrer is kind. I assure 
the Fuehrer that my task was not 
easy. This Fouche, the Emperor’s 
Chief of Police, has a system equal 
to our own Gestapo. In order to— 
ah—abduct the Emperor—” 

“I’ve no time for that now, Eglitz. 
You may go. Germany will not for¬ 
get your contribution, Eglitz.” 

“Heil Hitler.” 

Eglitz left. 

Hitler’s hand went to a buzzer. 

“Kellzer? Eglitz has just left my 
apartment. Send two troopers and 
place him under arrest. No, not the 
camp. Treason trial. He must be 
disposed of within the hour. That 
is all.” 

Hitler turned again to face his 
visitor. 

“So,” he breathed. “You are here.” 

Of the two, Napoleon was more at 
ease. 

“So I observe.” 

“You are calm.” 

“Resigned, let us say.” 

“This must be a strange experience 
for you.” 

“I am accustomed to the unusual. 
Besides, your aide—this Eglitz, is 
it not?—told me much on the voy¬ 
age. Despite the fact that he knocked 
me over the head; virtually kid¬ 
napped me as it were, I bear him 
no ill will. He seemed both friend¬ 
ly and intelligent.” 

“He was—is,” Hitler agreed. 

“He told me much of interest. 
This is 1942, is it not? So much 
seems to have happened. Naturally, 


I am still a bit confused, as to the 
reasons for all this.” 

“Allow me to explain,” Hitler 
urged. 

Napoleon smiled. 

“Very well. Your french, sire, is 
somewhat—rusty.” 

“Perhaps. But I could not risk an 
interpreter for what I am going to 
tell you. Please be seated.” 

■ >MPEROR and Dictator, seated 
JCd at a table in the quiet room. 
Emperor, Dictator, and the time- 
chamber. Bridge between two worlds 
of war. The room that had hummed 
to the vibrations of a machine which 
defied space and time now held the 
whisper of voices whose echos had 
shaken continents. 

“And so you see, that is why I 
brought you here.” Hitler was hoarse 
from his hour-long monologue. “I 
am the master of my world. You 
were the master of yours. Together 
we can exercise twice the power.” 

Napoleon nodded. 

“Besides,” Hitler murmured, “I 
need you. I would admit that to 
no living man. But I need your 
knowledge of military science—and 
the inspired genius behind it. I have 
made—mistakes. Mistakes which 
must be rectified.” 

Again the voice droned on, as 
darkness deepened. From time to 
time the two men rose and consulted 
maps, charts, documentary material 
which was brought from the other 
rooms. 

It was nearly midnight when the 
two weary men faced one another 
across the long table. 

“But there must be some solution,” 
Hitler sighed. 

“Your military position is peril¬ 
ous,” Napoleon answered. “What is 
worse, that position is irrevocable. 
It cannot be changed.” Imperial 
shoulders shrugged. “It was useless 
for you to send for me. I had best 
go back to my own day and place. 
I tell you frankly—your offer of 
joint partnership in this war is en¬ 
ticing, but it leads only to a hope¬ 
less end.” 

“You must help me,” Hitler grated. 
“You must! You are Napoleon!” 




92 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


“Yes. I am Napoleon. But I can¬ 
not change what exists,” answered 
the Little Corporal, sadly. 

Then his head jerked up. 

“Wait. There is our solution!” 

A pudgy finger stabbed towards 
the time-chamber. 

“What do you mean? Are you 
mad?” 

“No madder than you. Sire, when 
you sent your aide to kidnap me 
through time. My solution is sim¬ 
ple. Attend. 

“As we have seen, your difficulties 
began at the outset of this war. In 
September, 1939. You missed the op¬ 
portunity to invade England. You 
did not check Russia. You failed in 
your mission in the United States.” 

“But that is past—over two years 
ago. It is too late to change.” 

“Is it? Why can’t we enter the 
time-chamber and return to 1939? Re¬ 
turn to July of that year and plan 
the war anew for September?” 

Hitler was on his feet. 

“Could we—dare we—?” 

“You want the world? Very well, 
we can obtain it. If you have the 
courage to make the journey. Once 
in 1939 we can rectify your previous 
errors, anticipate the others. Profit 
by experience. The war will be 
waged properly then, with you and 
me in command.” 

Blurred voices in a midnight room. 
Blurred figures moving towards the 
silver machine. A nightmare vision 
in a nightmare world. Napoleon, 
Hitler, and a time-machine. 

And then—only an empty room, 
after all. The machine was gone. 
Somewhere in the reaches of infinity, 
two dictators sped back to remould 
the past. The earth trembled in 
anticipation. 

I T was Napoleon who handled the 
controls. The pudgy fingers of 
Bonaparte, ex-lieutenant of artillery, 
mastered the intricacies of the ma¬ 
chine’s working parts. 

His interest in the principles of 
operating the chamber had almost 
exceeded his curiosity regarding the 
operations of the war itself. But 
Hitler had been patient. After all, 
a visitor so distinguished must be 


humored. And if Napoleon chose to 
guide the time-chamber, it was well. 
He, Hitler, had chosen to guide the 
destinies of the world instead. 

So they sat there, in the curious¬ 
ly vibrating metal shell. Napoleon’s 
hands moved over the silver surface 
of the panels in silent concentration. 
Hitler’s hands twisted nervously in 
his lap. 

There was silence, save for the 
humming vibration—the silence of 
two men moving through the un¬ 
known, the unnameable; twisting 
through time on a mission to remould 
the fate of the world. 

Just two men—but two men un¬ 
like any of the myriad billions who 
had preceded them on the face of 
earth. Two men, each of whom in 
his time had remoulded the face of 
the earth; remoulded it with ruth¬ 
less surgery that left it torn and 
bleeding. 

Never two such men before, and 
never such a journey.... 

Something of the import • must 
have occurred to them both as they 
sat there waiting for the vibrations 
to cease. For they glanced at one 
another suddenly, and their eyes met. 

The eyes of Hitler met the eyes 
of Napoleon, somewhere within the 
emptiness of space and time. Met 
and mingled in a flaming resolve. It 
was the Fuehrer who addressed the 
Emperor. 

“In just a moment,” he whispered, 
“we shall arrive. And the work will 
begin. It was meant to be. You 
and I—our greatness is such that 
Fate itself has willed our union. 
Your sun and my star shall rise to¬ 
gether in the heavens.” 

It was the voice of the mystic that 
rose above the humming; the voice 
of megalomania triumphant. 

“Perhaps?” Bonaparte echoed. His 
dark eyes were filmed with sudden 
wonderment. “And yet I wonder if 
man can cheat his Fate?” 

“I am Fate.” The harsh voice of 
the Fuehrer rose. “As you shall 
see.” His hand rose, extended. “Mas¬ 
ter of the world, and now master of 
time and space itself! We have gone 
far since your day, Napoleon. Your 
armies would be blasted to bits by 




The Machine That Changed History ★ ★ ★ 93 


a single panzer division. But you’ve 
seen that. You know how death can 
leap from the skies, or hurtle through 
the air from a hundred miles away. 
You know how death creeps on, 
above, and under the seas. You know 
how entire continents may be 
ravished by the flaming breath of 
war.” 

Napoleon smiled. “I too have made 
speeches,” he declared, sardonically. 
“But perhaps I have learned to re¬ 
gret some of the deeds accompany¬ 
ing them.” 

“I do not regret and I shall not 
regret,” Hitler retorted. “We are 
returning to 1939. This time there 
shall be no errors. England shall 
be invaded swiftly. And France 
shall—” 

He checked himself in time. A 
frown had appeared on the Little 
Corporal’s forehead. Did the fool 
suspect? No. How could he? He 
did not know what had happened to 
France. He had been taken from 
Germany in 1807 to Germany in 1942. 
He didn’t know—but Hitler worried 
about the frown. 

“And France?” Napoleon echoed 
softly. “What of France?” 

“France shall share its rightful 
place with Germany,” Hitler amend¬ 
ed, hastily. 

T HE frown disappeared. In its 
place came a slow smile. For 
some reason Hitler didn’t like the 
smile any better. 

“That is well,” answered the Em¬ 
peror. “France shall hold its right¬ 
ful place, yes.” 

Hitler was silent. His thoughts 
raced swiftly. In a moment they 
would arrive—arrive in 1939. It 
would be late summer again. He and 
Napoleon would enter into council. 
The war would be plotted afresh; 
with Hitler’s memories of two years 
to come as an aid. Napoleon would 
be helpful with strategy, extremely 
helpful. His unbiased viewpoint 
would aid in pointing out various 
weaknesses even Hitler and his staff 
might overlook. 

And then, the war. Hitler’s war. 
For he had decided finally. When 
Napoleon’s work was over, he must 


go. Hitler didn’t trust his frown 
or his smile. The fool would never 
stand for what would happen to 
France. He’d be disposed of—this 
self-styled Emperor. 

Hitler’s dream of triumph glittered 
in his eyes. What a final irony! Men 
had always compared him to Napo¬ 
leon. Thought it a compliment when 
they termed him an equal. Well, 
Hitler would be superior to the 
French conqueror. His greatest vic¬ 
tory. 

“Wait! Do you feel that?” 

Napoleon’s voice cut through Hit¬ 
ler’s meditations. 

“I think we’ve arrived.” 

Yes. The vibrations were diminish¬ 
ing. The humming and droning 
within the metal chamber slackened. 
In a moment there was a curious lit¬ 
tle bump—not a physically-felt bump, 
but a sort of shifting and settling 
sensation in the consciousness of 
both men. As though they had been 
spinning in a void and suddenly set 
down on something solid. 

“Yes—we’re here!” 

Napoleon rose. His pompous little 
body moved towards the compart¬ 
ment door. Hitler followed. Now 
his smile was broad. Napoleon 
couldn’t see him. Instead he led the 
way—led the way to Hitler’s triumph 
and his own doom. 

The door swung open as the Em¬ 
peror’s fingers moved over the bolts 
and handles. Napoleon stood on the 
threshold, breathed deeply. Then he 
clambered out. 

Hitler moved forward swiftly. He 
could hardly wait. To emerge 
again on the eve of victory— 

Hitler stepped out. 

Into the arms of two waiting 
guards. 

“Hold this man!” 

Napoleon’s voice barked the order. 

Hitler struggled in the grip of 
giant hands. 

“What is this? Why—” 

He stared upwards into the mus- 
tached visages of two Grenadiers. 
They were huge shakos and gaudy 
green uniforms. The uniforms of 
Napoleon’s troops! 

Hitler’s eyes roved wildly about 
the great chamber in which the ma- 




94 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


chine rested. It was a court apart¬ 
ment—luxuriantly appointed in the 
styles of Napoleon’s day. 

And standing before him, no long¬ 
er an incongruous figure, but with 
the air of a master in his own time 
and place, was Napoleon. 

Again Hitler saw the smile on the 
lips of the Emperor. 

H ITLER heard his voice through 
a swirling mist. 

“We are here, Adolf Hitler—but in 
a time and place of my own choos¬ 
ing. The hour has arrived—but it is 
the hour of my destiny, not yours! 

“We have returned to the day on 
which you abducted^me. We are in 
Cologne, in my German palace, in 
1807.” 

“But—” 

Again Hitler saw the smile and 
shuddered. Napoleon advanced and 
whispered. 

“You fool! Did you believe I 
would forsake my own destiny for 
yours? I handled the controls—and 
I set them for this day again. I 
want to live my own life, complete 
the mission of conquest on which I 
embarked. So I have returned to 
my own time.” 

Hitler’s head whirled. He tem¬ 
porized swiftly. 

“But you and I—we could have 
ruled a greater world together—I of¬ 
fered you everything—” 

“Adolf Hitler, I do not want your 
kind of world.” The Emperor’s voice 
rose to a knell of doom. “Your aide, 
the' man who brought me to you, was 
careless. He let hints slip on the 
journey through time. He told me 
what you did to my France.” 
“France?” 

“Did you think I was fooled? No, 
I knew all along. You and your 
hordes trampled over my land, rav¬ 
aged it. And I swore to avenge my 
country. I shall do so, in my own 
way. 

“Hitler, I am a warrior, a conquer¬ 
or. But I am not a mad butcher! 
And I do not intend to unleash you 
once again upon my people. 

“You and your crazy theories of 
racial superiority—of men who must 
kill like beasts in order to live! I 


am going to save France and the 
world from you.” 

Hitler wet his cracked lips. “What 
are you going to do?” he whispered. 

Napoleon gestured curtly. 

“Guards—place this man back in 
the machine.” 

The Grenadiers dragged the Fueh¬ 
rer across the floor. His face was 
ashen. His voice rose to entreaty. 
“What are you going to do?” 

Napoleon shrugged. 

“There is no place here in my 
world for your kind. There is no 
place in the world to come—1939 or 
1942, or any year. There never will 
be a place again for men with your 
debased dreams! 

“In all the ages, I know of only 
one time when the world would wel¬ 
come your vile ideas. There you 
must go, to a world where the weak 
perish and only the strong survive. 
And I wish you joy!” 

They were inside the chamber now. 
Napoleon’s hands were moving over 
the controls. A tinkling sound 
splintered the silence. 

“What was that?” 

Napoleon turned. 

“I have smashed the adjustment 
dials,” he announced. “You are em¬ 
barked on a one-way journey.” 

The guards backed out of the 
compartment. Napoleon followed. He 
stood in the metal doorway before 
closing the door. 

“Goodbye, Adolf Hitler,” he mur¬ 
mured. “You are going to seek your 
rightful destiny at last.” 

Hitler rose with a snarl, lunged 
forward. 

But the iron door of the time- 
chamber clanged hollowly in his 
face. And a humming rose to mingle 
with Hitler’s anguished scream. 

T HE humming rose and rose. It 
filled Hitler’s head, throbbed 
through it. It was a dark drone, 
filling his brain with the black mut¬ 
tering of doom. 

Hitler lay in the darkness while 
fear pulsed through his being. Lay 
there for endless eons, lay there for 
an eternity—as he sped through eons 
and eternity alike. 

But when the humming finally 




The Machine That Changed History ★ * ★ 95 


subsided, he had conquered his dread. 

He sat up sharply when he felt the 
curious adjustment sensation which 
meant the time-chamber had arrived. 
Hitler drew a deep breath. 

He was here. 

Napoleon had done it. The con¬ 
trols were beyond repair. He was 
here, and he’d face the future un¬ 
afraid. 

Napoleon had outwitted him, yes. 
But no use crying over spilt milk. 
The Emperor was crafty—but a fool, 
for all that! He was back again in 
1807, strutting across the stage of 
history, playing the tyrant—but Hit¬ 
ler knew what Napoleon did not 
know. Knew that there was a Water¬ 
loo lying ahead for the Emperor in 
eight short years. What sweet re¬ 
venge ! That 1 ng exile ahead! 

And he, Hitler, had been exiled. 
But he could still mould his future 
freshly, in whatever time he found 
himself. 

Hitler smiled grimly. Yes. Napo¬ 
leon forgot that he, Adolf Hitler, 
could shape his own destiny. Hadn’t 
he risen from humble house-painter 
to mighty warlord in the complexity 
of the modern world? Well, with 
his brain and vision, his knowledge 
of men and the future, he could start 
again. 

He wondered where Napoleon had 
sent him. 

“Where the weak perish and only 
the strong survive.” That might be 
ancient Rome. Barbarian times. Well, 
that was hardly a sad fate. He’d 
learn. He’d make adjustments. He 
knew men and he knew History. 
Wherever it was, Adolf Hitler could 
always rule in a world where strength 
ruled over weakness. 

He rose, stepped to the chamber. 
He unbolted it slowly, pushed it 


open. He drew another deep breath. 
The fresh air was sweet and clean. 

Smiling, Adolf Hitler stepped out 
onto a grassy sward. His eyes blinked 
in the sunlight. 

He stood on a hillside which rose 
like a grassy island amidst a sea of 
lush vegetation. Why, it was like 
a tropical forest! 

Blinking again, he walked across 
the turf. The ground was soft, al¬ 
most steaming with moisture beneath 
his feet. * 

Where was he? In what time did 
he exist? Where were the cities 
of Germany, the people? 

Hitler shook his head. His vision 
cleared. 

Then he saw them emerge from 
the forest at his right. They came 
swiftly. He wheeled in panic. 

Too late! The others were creep¬ 
ing up on him from the rear, cutting 
off his return to the door of the 
time-chamber. 

Adolf Hitler stood surrounded by 
a ring—a ring of advancing figures. 
He stared at the figures and under¬ 
stood Napoleon’s parting words at 
last. 

He stared at a band of ape-like 
shamblers—shamblers that had only 
the faces of men. Their shaggy 
bodies were covered with long, yel¬ 
lowish fur. Blonde fur. They were 
powerful, grinning in their strength. 
And their deep, chuckling laughter 
was filled with hatred—the hatred of 
the strong for the weak. 

Strong. Blonde. Brutes living in 
a time where he could find his right¬ 
ful destiny— 

As the monsters closed in on him, 
Adolf Hitler’s screams rose from the 
little forest hillside in the Stone 
Age. 

THE END 


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No. 2 VALLEY OF PRETENDERS 





96 
























THE ANSWER °„v 


GRATES WALDEYER 


Everything about John 
Smith was strange ex¬ 
cept his name. But 
even Smith did not 
suspect the astounding 
truth about himself and 
his origin, until the 
weird messenger came 
out of space to answer 
the riddle of the ages! 


P ROFESSOR JOHN SMITH 
turned from the vision piece 
of the huge electro-telescope, 
stared fixedly at the girl waiting with 
the pencil poised over her notebook. 

The eyes of the young Director of 
Bosworth Observatory were steel- 
gray, the irises drilling points from 
which radiated tiny flecks of chipped 
steel, inlaid in the gray obsidian of 
cornea. The full fixity of their gaze 
seemed to hold people in an unbreak¬ 
able mental grip, filled them with a 
strange unease. John Smith had 
learned to see from the corners of 
his eyes, or to flick them swiftly 
across the features of others, so as to 
spare them the strange force of the 


97 


98 ★ ★ ★ Science Fiction Stories 


mentality that blazed from those liv¬ 
ing windows. 

But that didn’t apply to the crea¬ 
ture who now registered on the su¬ 
persensitive retinas—a raven-haired, 
full-lipped specimen of feminity 
whose flashing black eyes gazed bold¬ 
ly into John Smith’s without flinch¬ 
ing. She didn’t mind being locked in 
that strange mental grip. She was 
his wife and Observatory assistant. 

John Smith nodded silently and 
turned back to the vision piece of 
the telescope. Now his eyes changed 
subtly in color, color that admitted 
wavelengths of light that did not 
register on ordinary retinas. He dic¬ 
tated in a low, vibrant voice that 
seemed to belong with such eyes. . . 

The pencil in the girl’s hand flew 
swiftly over the pad. “The object is 
speeding earthward,” it wrote, “be¬ 
tween the orbits of Mars and Earth. 
It is tiny, faint, and not perceptible 
to ordinary eyesight.” 

Ordinary eyesight! Astronomers 
who studied that report would know 
what it meant; that Professor John 
Smith’s supersensitive retinas could 
discern celestial objects invisible to 
normal vision. Objects emitting light 
so faint it took hours to pile up an 
image on photograph plates. 

Eye experts had been dumbfounded 
in testing John Smith’s eyes, partic¬ 
ularly when he had detected the faint 
blur of a bullet leaving a gun barrel. 
“Superfast perception reactions,’’ 
they had mumbled pompously, to hide 
their befuddlement. A few years ago, 
visiting an observatory, Smith had 
seen Halley’s Comet returning in its 
predicted path, weeks before it could 
be detected by others. He had im¬ 
mediately been offered a position in 
Bosworth Observatory, housing the 
world’s largest telescope, and had 
risen rapidly to the Directorship. 

Yes, everything about John Smith 
was strange—everything but his 
name. 

“The object,” his low vibrant voice 
went on, “was discovered yesterday. 
If it follows its present path it should 
pass very close t< earth within two 
days. . .” His voice trailed off. Black¬ 
haired Leona Smith glanced at her 
husband questioningly, pencil poised. 


He was peering intently into the eye¬ 
piece, his expression strained. 

“What now, Professor?” she said 
banteringly. “Was it just a ghost- 
image after all?” 

His strong, sensitive features did 
not relax. His faintly curved lips 
barely moved as he spoke. “It is an 
artificial object—a spaceship!” 

The weight of the discovery threw 
a mantle of awed silence about them 
both. Was a new chapter in Earth’s 
history to be written? Was there to 
be, for the first time, a visitant from 
another world? 

Then Leona sprang to the eyepiece, 
peered in. She rose presently, shak¬ 
ing her black tresses. “I can’t see a 
thing. It’s still too faint.” 

Smith passed a strong lean hand 
over his broad forehead. “You are 
normal,” he muttered huskily. “I’m 
cross-circuited in some way. My 
strange eyesight, the uneasiness I 
cause in people. Why?” 

I T WAS a complete mystery to 
him. He had known a normal 
childhood in an orphanage, a normal 
life. Normal, except for that strange 
sensation, at intervals, of being under 
surveillance. With maturity, this 
phenomenon had become rarer. 

Leona gazed at him fondly for a 
moment, then broke the silence. “You 
go on the air in five minutes,” she 
reminded him practically. “Your 
chats about the stars program, you 
know. People don’t seem to fear your 
television image!” 

John Smith waved aside the pre¬ 
pared script she thrust toward him. 
“My mind : s too full of the strange 
spaceship approaching earth. I’ll talk 
about that. Oh, I know the Observa¬ 
tory trustees will consider it sensa¬ 
tionalism. Nonetheless, I’ll risk it. 
People should be interested.” 

He stepped before the television 
apparatus set up in the Observatory 
for his convenience. He delighted 
in these broadcasts, for they took him 
into millions of homes, made him feel 
he was partaking of normal, everyday 
life like other people. His vibrant, 
hypnotic voice went out on the night 
air to entrance millions. 

When he had said “good night” 




The Answer Out of Space ★ ★ ★ 99 


twenty minutes later, the girl had his 
street clothes ready. Their working 
schedule—also their appetites—called 
for a light supper at this time each 
night, for which they descended to 
lower-level. 

Smith paused for a word with Car¬ 
ter, the second Observatory assistant. 
“Since you can not yet see the object, 
I will relocate it upon my return, if 
it has passed out of the field of view 
by that time.” A moment later the 
young couple were stepping out of 
the towering observatory structure at 
the lower-level traffic-way. 

In 1998 the only direction astro¬ 
nomical observatories could go to es¬ 
cape civilization was up. To describe 
it exactly, the cities were all in the 
country. The vibration-proof struc¬ 
ture of the Bosworth Observatory 
towered far above the polarized light¬ 
ing of the lower levels at which 
moved the mass of humanity. Smith 
steeled himself instinctively, as he 
always did, against the inevitable, 
often startled stares that his appear¬ 
ance in public invariably caused. 
Though none could have told how he 
differed from others, people gazed at 
him half-awedly, then hurried on, in¬ 
stinct whispering to them of strange 
qualities about the strongly knit, 
somehow godlike figure of John 
Smith. People don’t like to experi¬ 
ence unfamiliar emotions. . . 

“There’s a man crossing the traffic 
way on foot,” ejaculated Leona sud¬ 
denly. “He seems in an awful hur¬ 
ry. He is heading this way, as if to 
intercept us.” 

The young astronomer flashed his 
steel-flecked eyes in the indicated di¬ 
rection. On those sensitive retinas 
there registered a figure of a lone 
pedestrian hurrying across the 
brightly lighted boulevard. His man¬ 
ner was urgent, his gaze on Smith 
with an odd intensity. 

The girl cried out. Smith tensed. 
A huge robot-bus was bearing down 
silently but swiftly on the intent 
“jaywalker.” Oblivious to the fifteen 
tons of rushing, silent death, the man 
came on, his strangely rigid face 
without expression. 

John Smith shouted, gesticulated, 
but even as he did so he knew the 


robot-bus was too close. And the 
witless robot at the controls failed 
to react to this unusual violation of 
the traffic-way by a walker. Leona 
thought she could hear the dull thud. 

Passengers screamed, people on the 
walk-way shouted. The bus swept 
on, and a groan rose from the crowd 
—a sound that changed to amazed 
ejaculations. For the man stood there, 
unharmed! The bus had narrowly 
missed him. People’s eyes had played 
them false. The suddenly gathered 
crowd quickly dispersed. 

But they had not seen what had 
registered on the acute retinas of 
John Smith, focused there through 
eyes that had changed subtly in col¬ 
or. In that fractional instant as the 
robot-bus approached, a drama had 
been played out for his eyes alone. 
The walker had suddenly become 
aware of the bus, only feet from him. 
He had—vanished. 

WWATHER, his outlines had 
Mw abruptly become vague, insub¬ 
stantial, invisible to all but Smith. 
And the rushing bus had passed right 
through him. Then again he was 
solid, unharmed. All had happened 
so swiftly that no eyes but those of 
Smith could have followed the amaz¬ 
ing sequence. 

Now the man was again hurrying 
toward the young couple. They stood 
waiting, Smith’s face strangely grim. 
Super-keen eyes probing, he sized up 
the man. Deliberately he avoided 
looking directly at the strange blur 
that hovered near the approaching 
stranger. He was about Smith’s 
build, could have been Smith’s age— 
29. The young scientist was struck 
by the colorless appearance of the 
man. His eyes, wide on Smith, were 
shadowed by overhanging brows over 
a pasty, unnatural-looking face. 
Smith struggled for a word to de¬ 
scribe the man’s expression. Imper¬ 
sonal—that was it! Yet, he radiated 
a strange force. 

He halted before the waiting cou¬ 
ple. “I must apologize for creating 
this—excitement,” he stammered. His 
voice was monotonous, his eyes re¬ 
fused to meet Smith’s steel-flecked 
ones. “I have just heard your broad- 




100 ★ ★ ★ Seier.ce Fiction Stories 


cast about a strange object—a space¬ 
ship—approaching Earth! My name 
is . . . Om; yes, Om. I beg of you 
to permit me to view it through the 
big telescope.” There was a sup¬ 
pressed urgency in his voice. 

“But the object is still too faint for 
ordinary—” Leone began, then broke 
off at a warning glance from her hus¬ 
band. 

“I realize the Observatory is closed 
to the public,” the man went on, “but 
I must see this approaching object.” 
His eyes still refused to meet 
Smith’s. Agitation was evident in 
his manner. Smith found it difficult 
to refrain from looking at that blur 
to one side of “Om.” He nodded 
shortly, turned and silently led the 
way into the entrance of the tower¬ 
ing Observatory structure. 

In the automatic elevator, he care¬ 
fully placed himself between the 
stranger and Leona. He jabbed the 
button, staring straight ahead. He 
could watch the man and his accom¬ 
panying blur from the corner of his 
eyes. . . 

In the Observatory, Smith adjust¬ 
ed the telescope to bring the object 
again into view, then nodded to Om, 
who sprang avidly to the eyepiece. 
Smith stood back, his face set, grim. 
He didn’t intend to lose sight of that 
blur. . . 

Om peered for a long moment into 
the eyepiece. Then he rose, sup¬ 
pressed excitement in his every ges¬ 
ture. “It is merely a nebulous wisp 
of matter, not a spaceship!” Om’s 
voice was persuasive. 

“It is a spaceship,” retorted Smith 
coolly. “I have calculated its likely 
point of approach to earth. I shall 
be on hand when it arrives.” 

“Oh, no.” The stranger dropped 
his persuasive manner. “You must 
not meet it. I warn you. Do not 
be present when it arrives. Stay 
what you are!” 

“But that’s absurd,” Smith broke in 
sharply. “Of course I shall attempt 
to contact the occupants of the ship. 
This is a tremendous event!” Smith 
ignored that curious ending remark 
of the creature. It seemed utterly 
meaningless. 

“Then—then I shall have to stop 


you with my own methods,” the man 
stammered, his voice apologetic. His 
shaded eyes seemed desperately try¬ 
ing to avoid the direct gaze of 
Smith’s penetrating ones. They wav¬ 
ered, fastened to Smith’s, hung there. 
Sudden fright seemed to wrinkle the 
rigid features. Om staggered back, 
still staring into Smith’s slitted eyes. 
He was straining under a terrific 
mental effort. 

Then—Smith reeled. Something 
seemed to pass from Om’s mind into 
his own. He was almost on the verge 
of a staggering knowledge. Then it 
was blacked out. Simultaneously the 
visitor made a last contortive effort, 
his eyes rolled—and he vanished! 

But not entirely to Smith’s keen 
sight. Where before there had been 
one blur, now there were two, mov¬ 
ing swiftly toward the door. 

T HE girl cried out, sprang to 
Smith’s side. What had hap¬ 
pened? He shook his head dazedly. 
That sudden perception as though the 
other man had unwillingly let down 
his telepathic guard! John Smith 
had seemed to glimpse into a strange 
vista that was now only a ghost of a 
memory. 

With an oath he whirled. “Shut 
that door,” he barked to Carter, who 
was standing a few yards off, jaws 
agape. “There’s Something in here 
that mustn’t get out!” But even as 
he spoke there was a blur of motion 
at the open entrance. Smith dashed 
into the hall. The door of the auto¬ 
matic elevator slammed shut in his 
face. On ground level, a puzzled 
watchman stared as the elevator door 
slid open and Nothing emerged. . . 

Leona was at the eyepiece of the 
telescope when Smith reentered the 
Observatory. She looked up. “I still 
can’t see the spaceship,” she mur¬ 
mured. “That creature, Om, must 
have eyesight as keen as yours, 
John!” 

“Hardly remarkable, in view of his 
other powers,” snapped Smith. “I’ve 
never been able to vanish.” Briefly 
he told the girl about the strange 
vanishment and reappearance of Om 
on the traffic-way. “There were two 
of them,” he went on. “One visible. 




The Answer Out of Space ★ ★ ★ 101 


the other a blur. In the Observa¬ 
tory, the visible one became a blur, 
too, and both blurs escaped down the 
elevator.” 

The next evening the spaceship, 
an elongated teardrop, was closer, al¬ 
most visible against the backdrop of 
space. Its surface. Smith decided, 
had been treated optically so as to 
render it invisible to normal human 
vision, and telescopes. Probably by 
some technique of light interference, 
absorbing instead of reflecting inci¬ 
dent light rays. Definitely, it was 
heading for Earth, should land the 
next afternoon at this rate of ap¬ 
proach. 

“Why did this creature, Om, try 
to argue you out of meeting the 
ship,” Leona wondered. 

Smith’s handsome face was darkly 
grim. “Probably because the occu¬ 
pants are other creatures like him,” 
he said. "It could be that Om is an 
advance agent of some alien race, and 
the spaceship occupants are others. 
It seems logical.” 

“But couldn’t the space ship easily 
avoid discovery?” asked the girl. 
“Why should Om be concerned that 
you would be able to find its landing 
place?” 

Smith nodded. “That is peculiar. 
Perhaps its path cannot be changed, 
and it is headed for this city. If so, 
I can use Bill Johnson’s landing 
drome, send out a tractor ray and 
bring it in. I’ll see Bill in the morn¬ 
ing.” 

“I’m coming, too,” said Leona, and 
Smith knew she meant it. In inter¬ 
cepting the strange ship, Smith knew 
he could not count on assistance from 
other scientists. Despite his pres¬ 
tige, many astronomers had expressed 
skepticism concerning the “space¬ 
ship” Smith had announced in his 
broadcast. None could see it, no 
images could be captured on photo¬ 
graphic plates. It had not been in¬ 
tended that earth scientists should 
discover the ship, Smith felt sure. . . 

He reached over for the insistently 
buzzing telephone. It was the watch¬ 
man at ground-level. “Professor 
Smith,” the fellow blurted, “there’s 
an old fellow down here who de¬ 
mands to see you. Says he’s a physi¬ 


cian. Wants to see you about a vis¬ 
itor you had yesterday evening. He 
acts like a wildman, refuses to leave. 
Shall I call police—” 

“Send him up,” snapped Smith. 
Brows lifted, he turned to Leona. “A 
physician—and he’s learned somehow 
about our strange visitor. Sounds 
strangely significant. . 

A moment later Carter was admit¬ 
ting an aged, professional-appearing 
man. His watery eyes were distend¬ 
ed, wavering. They rested on Smith 
and he staggered over, grasped the 
youthful Director’s arm. “He’s show¬ 
ing himself at last!” he cried hoarse¬ 
ly- 

“Who is?” demanded Smith — 
though he had a creeping suspicion. 

T HE old man waved a newspaper 
clipping before Smith’s nose. It 
was headed: “Mysterious Doings in 
Bosworth Observatory.” Smith read 
the small print: “Discovery of ghost¬ 
ly spaceships is not the only accom¬ 
plishment at the Bosworth Observa¬ 
tory. It has been visited by a ghost 
in person! It seems that Prof. Smith, 
the Director, admitted a visitor last 
night to look at the ‘ghost ship’, and 
the visitor himself turned out to be 
a ghost. The visitor suddenly van¬ 
ished from sight, according to the 
watchman, who got it from Dr. Car¬ 
ter, who actually saw it happen. The 
ghost used the elevator to ride down 
in, according to the watchman. . .” 

Smith crumbled the clipping, his 
eyes glinting. He looked around for 
the indiscreet assistant. 

The old man put a restraining hand 
on his arm. “I want to know only 
one thing. Is that the truth? Did 
the visitor actually vanish in this ob¬ 
servatory? I ask not from idle curi¬ 
osity, but from fear—deadly fear!” 

Smith nodded. “A person calling 
himself ‘Om’ was here,” he said dry¬ 
ly. “Yes, he vanished!” 

The old physician groaned. “I 
feared so,” he muttered. “My name 
is Hoagland. I am the physician who, 
29 years ago, presided at the birth 
of Cunningham—‘Om’s’ real name is 
Cunningham!” 

Leona and John Smith exchanged 
glances. 




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“His parents were—ordinary hu¬ 
mans,” whispered the girl. 

Hoagland nodded absently, his 
eyes wide and staring as if at some 
inner vision. “For nearly 25 years I 
have lived under a pall of fear,” he 
went on tonelessly. “Cringing at ev¬ 
ery unexplained occurrence. Always 
I wondered if Cunningham—or Om— 
was at last showing his hand.” 

He settled reluctantly into the 
chair Smith indicated, looked from 
one to the other of the young couple, 
his irises black and expanded. “I 
heard your broadcast about a space¬ 
ship approaching,” he said. “Then 
when I read that newspaper clipping 
I put two and two together. I real¬ 
ized your visitor must be he whom I 
delivered into the world 29 years ago. 
I witnessed the creature’s power to 
vanish, in its childhood. For 25 years 
he has remained out of sight. Now 
—your broadcast about an approach¬ 
ing spaceship brings him into the 
news. Why?” 

“Let us get this straight. Doctor,” 
broke in Smith curtly. “Are you tell¬ 
ing us that this creature we know as 
Om was delivered into the world by 
you from a human mother? Why 
has the world not heard? Surely the 
birth of a human being with these 
strange powers was an event of 
transcendent importance!” 

Hoagland nodded numbly, his eyes 
darting toward the shadows in the 
Observatory. His seamed face 
worked. “It was all my fault. I was 
an ambitious young doctor, jealous of 
my discovery. I wished to astound 
the world by the announcement after 
I had collected indisputable data. I 
failed to report the real facts to the 
Medical Board. The mother passed 
on a short time after the birth, and 
the father followed a few months lat¬ 
er. I secured legal guardianship. 
When I had decided finally to reveal 
my findings it was too late. I would 
not have been credited in the absence 
of the evidence. Guiltily, I held my 
peace. You see, the quadruplets van¬ 
ished from my home when they were 
a few months over four years—” 

“Quadruplets!” shot out Smith. 
“You mean Om is one of four—” 

“Not one of four —four ot one!” 















The Answer Out of Spaee 


hissed the old man fiercely. “One 
ego, one identity, inhabiting and con¬ 
trolling four physical selves.” 

He relaxed, in the stunned silence 
that followed. “Excuse me,” he went 
on, “for not having spoken plainer. 
The fact is that Nature, at last, has 
produced — Superman! Indeed, the 
evidence that nature was working to¬ 
ward this type of human has been 
before us right along. It was appro¬ 
priate that Cunningham, a brilliant 
scientific genius, and his beautiful, 
aesthetic wife, should have been the 
first to produce the new type—” 

“To what ‘evidence’ do you refer?” 
broke in Smith. 

“What are identical twins?” shot 
back Hoagland. “What are triplets, 
quadruplets, even quintuplets? They 
are attempts by nature to produce a 
multiple being. The close rapport 
existing between identical twins, 
triplets and the rest is a known fact. 
But only in the Cunningham quad¬ 
ruplets—in Om—has nature at last 
fully succeeded. Succeeded in creat¬ 
ing a human that is one self, one ego, 
controlling four separate physical at¬ 
tributes or bodies!” 

“But how would that give him 
these strange powers,” gasped Leona. 

S ILENTLY, Smith passed Hoag¬ 
land a drink of brandy. 

“This is the way I have reasoned 
it out,” went on the physician. “Man, 
as a single being, has reached the lim¬ 
it of his mental powers. Basic hu¬ 
man intelligence has not increased 
for many hundreds of years. Man’s 
intelligence has been limited by the 
fact that he has only one mind, one 
center of conscious thought. The in¬ 
teraction of the brain neurons is all 
sifted through this one, sharply lim¬ 
ited conscious mind. 

“Om, in his four physical selves, 
has four conscious minds, four sparks 
of awareness, all bounden to the one 
central ego, all pouring the result of 
mental activity into the lap of this 
ego, for coordination. This plural¬ 
ity of conscious minds gives a mental 
perspective, just as two eyes give 
visual perspective. Visual perspec¬ 
tive gives a perception of distance, 
(Continued On Page 104) 




























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(Continued From Page 103) 
size and shape. Om’s four-fold 
mental perspective gives him a per¬ 
ception of time and space and mo¬ 
tion—the trinity in which the very 
universe exists! 

“A prerogative of the four-fold 
mentality is the ability to control the 
vibratory rate of matter. That is 
how he vanishes. Even the name he 
has given himself—Om—is no coinci¬ 
dence. It is the first syllable of the 
word Omniscience!” 

Hoagland stopped suddenly, 
whirled about as the door slid open. 

“Only Carter entering,” murmured 
Smith, his voice slightly edged as he 
remembered the newspaper clipping. 

Leona was leaning forward, lips 
parted, coal black eyes wide on Dr. 
Hoagland. 

Smith pressed the old man back 
into his chair. “You lost control of 
the quadruplets?” he asked. 

“Yes. I was continually spying 
upon them, to get data as to their 
suspected oneness of identity. Two 
of them, present in the high-frequen¬ 
cy—or invisible—condition, abruptly 
appeared solidly before me, glaring 
at me with more than childish wrath, 
at this invasion of their privacy. It 
gave me a shock I can tell you. That 
was the first I knew of their posses¬ 
sion of this power.” 

He paused, continued. “But my 
climactic error was in permitting 
them once, to play with normal 
neighborhood children. Perhaps the 
quadruplets innocently displayed 
their strange powers. Perhaps the 
other children intuitively sensed their 
difference. Children are merciless 
toward any deviation from the norm. 
They drove the Cunningham chil¬ 
dren off with sticks and stones. The 
developing, sensitive ego doubtless 
realized then the impossibility of 
ever being accepted by human so¬ 
ciety. Doubtless they read this in the 
minds of the other children, in the 
minds of myself and my wife, in the 
composite thoughts reaching them 
from all sides. 

“And it is unlikely that the ego, in 
maturity, has seen anything of hu¬ 
man nature to cause it to revise its 
opinion of its likely treatment, 


104 













The Answer Out of Space 


should its real nature, its superiority 
to the race, become known.” 

“They ran away?” asked Leona, her 
voice sympathetic. 

Hoagland nodded. “Almost imme¬ 
diately after their experience with 
the normal children—they were then 
four years of age. Vanished without 
a trace. Nor did I report it, for fear 
of complications. Not that it is like¬ 
ly the police could have located them. 
Somehow, they have kept hidden all 
these years, reaching maturity’s full 
powers. And now, Om shows up to 
interest himself in a spaceship from 
the void!” He shuddered. 

Smith was silent, thinking. The 
old man suffered from conscience, yet 
Smith could not entirely discount his 
fears. How was Om connected with 
the approaching spaceship, and why 
did he warn Smith against being 
present when it arrived? 

He related the episode of the ro¬ 
bot-van, of the manner in which the 
van had apparently passed through 
the man. 

“He saw the oncoming bus in time,” 
Hoagland hazarded, “and passed in¬ 
stantly into his high-frequency con¬ 
dition. Solid matter could pass 
through him in that state!” 

“It jibes with my observations,” 
agreed Smith absently. “The visible 
self was accompanied by one of the 
other selves, in the blurred, high-fre¬ 
quency state. That accounts for two 
of the four. Where are the other two 
physical selves?” 

CCrrasy can doubtless travel 
JB. about independently of one 
another," said Hoagland, “retaining 
their telepathic rapport each with the 
others—” He paused suddenly, sat up 
with a jerk. Sudden suspicion ap¬ 
peared in his watery eyes. “How is 
it?” he said thickly, “that they were 
visible to you in their high-frequency 
condition?” 

Smith shrugged wearily. “My eyes 
are somewhat more acute than the 
average, due, I suppose,” he finished 
lamely, “to constant use of the tele¬ 
scope.” He hadn’t intended mention¬ 
ing that he could see the Om bodies 
in their “invisible” state! 

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Science Fiction Stories 


(Continued From Page 105) 

“I—I see,” murmured Hoagland. 
For the first time he seemed to really 
see John Smith. He stared into the 
young astronomer’s steel-flecked gray 
eyes, and his own wavered. A puz¬ 
zled expression crossed his face, that 
same expression which Smith had 
seen on so many other faces of peo¬ 
ple seeing him for the first time. 
Smith stirred uncomfortably, glanced 
at Leona, was surprised to see her 
eyelids drooping over her dark eyes, 
as if in an attempt to hide within 
herself some half-formed thought. A 
faint, indefinable movement pulled 
his eyes over to the dimly lit tele¬ 
scope platform. 

He shot to his feet. Over the eye¬ 
piece there hovered a vague blur in 
the outline of a man. The blur van¬ 
ished from the eyepiece, as Smith 
leaped toward it, swept over to where 
| the girl was sitting meditatively. The 
blur hovered over her. She rose 
abruptly, screaming. 

Smith leaped toward her. She was 
becoming vague, shadowy. With a 
hoarse cry, John Smith landed by her 
vanishing form, sought to grasp it. 
Then it was being swept away from 
him. Two blurred streaks of motion 
swept toward the Observatory door. 

“It’s locked,” shouted Smith, rush¬ 
ing toward the door. “They can’t 
get out!” 

The blurs hesitated a moment at 
the door, as if encountering i„n initial 
surface tension. Then they melted 
through, out of sight. 

Smith hurled himself at the door, 
jabbed the hidden sliding mechanism. 
As the door slid aside he rushed into 
the corridor. The blurs were van¬ 
ishing into the automatic elevator, 
the door clanged shut as Smith 
smashed up against it. 

“What was it?” gasped Hoagland. 
He and Carter had come up behind 
Smith. “Was it . . . Om?” 

“It was!” gritted Smith, jabbing 
uselessly at the elevator call button. 

Hoagland shook his head. “Pursuit 
is useless. Where would we pursue 
to? In this state of accelerated fre¬ 
quency they are utterly beyond our 
reach.” 

Smith dashed back into the ob- 


















“But why did he take your wife?” 
quavered Hoagland. 


“As a warning to me.” Smith's 
voice hit low octaves. “He must have 
entered the Observatory when Carter 
came in, for a final check up on the 
approaching spaceship. . I had the 
telescope following it automatically, 
since it is still maintaining the same 
orbit. Om must have read in my 
mind that I intended to ignore his 



“Perhaps,”^ said huskSy^'ln some 
strange way, you are beyond his pow¬ 
er. . .” 



S TRANGELY, the ship still fol¬ 
lowed the same path, as though 
automatically guided, and would land 
somewhere in this city this afternoon. 
Doubtless it would be beamed in by 
some private landing base controlled 
by Om. Well, he would see about 
that. . . 


The ship was still 
ently, to normal 
some technique of 
terfered with rei 
Smith ignored the jibe that, appeared 




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pation, and tactfully left him alone, 



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He started back as the circular 
door whirled about, screwing out, 
then swinging open on hinges. The 
interior was lighted. 

Smith waited for a long moment, 
watching, then as nothing emerged, 
he stepped inside, breathlessly. 

Inside was absolute silence. Smith 
looked around at the strange-looking 
dials and controls lining the interior. 
His eyes stopped at a figure lying 
on a couch at one end, held there by 
straps. Slowly Smith moved closer, 
stared down at the face of the occu¬ 
pant. 

Smith’s eyes changed color from 
purple to ultra-red, then became nor¬ 
mal again. He staggered back, his 
keen intellect completely at a loss for 

The figure lying on the cot was— 
himself! The features were those of 
Smith, every line and angle. The 
steel-flecked eyes were open in death. 
Apparently the man had known he 
was dying, and had strapped himself 


108 




















The Answer Out of Space 


onto the cot, and set the automatic 
controls for earth. The man, Smith 
knew instinctively, was not just a 
close double of his; there was some¬ 
thing closer! 

“I would have spared you this!” 
said a voice. 

Smith whirled around. He reeled 
back again. For he, himself, stood 
there in double—two of him, gazing 
sorrowfully back at him as from mir¬ 
rors. They must have just entered 
from outside the ship. 

“What—how—who are—” Smith 
gave it up, looked with thunder¬ 
struck eyes at the figure on the cot, 
then back at the two living replicas 
of himself. 

One spoke again. “We are Cun¬ 
ningham—or Om. You are one of us. 
It was I who first visited your Ob¬ 
servatory-disguised !” The speaker 
pointed to the figure on the cot. "He 
perished in space and is now lost to 
the indivisible ego that is us and you. 
The Self now activates only three 
body-attributes—we, and you—the 
one kept separate!” 

Smith struggled to right his 
stunned perceptions. “I am one of 
you?” he stammered. 

“You are us,” was the reply. “And 
we are you. Our ego is one and in¬ 
divisible. At the age of four, you 
were isolated, dissociated, from the 
other three physical attributes of our 
joint ego. We early realized the sor¬ 
row that was in store for us within 
human society, due to our difference 
from the rest of humanity. We 
therefore caused one physical self— 
you—to live as a single being, your 
ego the same as ours, but memory 
associations isolated within your one 
mind, your rapport with the other 
three physical attributes blocked off, 
your mind and personality split off 
from the central ego, and yet stem¬ 
ming from that ego!” 

PgpHINGS were clicking into place 
Ji. in Smith’s adaptable mind. Much 
was suddenly clear. 

“My wife—Leona,” he burst out. 

“Here!” said a soft voice, and an 
arm circled his. Leona had been 
standing behind him. “After hear- 
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ing Dr. Hoagland’s story,” she went 
on, “I began to suspect the truth 
about your strange powers. The Om 
self who was then invisibly present 
in the Observatory, read my mind, 
took me away to prevent me telling 
you I suspected you were one of the 
quadruplets. For had I told you this, 
you would have sought them out, to 
learn the truth. The life you had 
built up as a single, normal individual 
would have crashed down! Of course 
I was to be released as soon as I had 
been warned of the consequences of 
telling you.” 

John Smith took a moment to re¬ 
lease the pent-up emotions of reunion 
with the girl he had thought lost. 

“And that was why ‘Om’ acted so 
strangely in my presence,” he asked 
them all, marveling. 

Leona nodded, as the two Om 
selves waited smilingly. “He was 
wearing a plastic mask at that first 
meeting,” she said. “Or you would 
have recognized yourself in him. 
Even so, as you and Om faced one 
another in the Observatory the urge 
of your joint ego to unite, to coalesce, 
was overwhelmingly strong. Your 
minds flowed together for an instant. 
To avoid complete reunion of the 
selves then and there, Om vanished 
by passing into his higher frequency 
condition. You see, it is the plural¬ 
ity, the merging of more than one 
mind, that gives this power, as Dr 
Hoagland suggested—” 

“Like this!” broke on one of the 


selves. At once, in a t 
whelming surge, r 
an amazing expansion of conscious¬ 
ness. Vast knowledge and powers 
were his. He understood space and 
time and motion and matter. Why, 
it would be simple to accelerate the 
vibratory rate of his electrons, pass 
into the high frequency state of mat¬ 
ter! And he was plural. From three 
form attributes the unified ego r 
looked out with an extraordi 
three-fold perspective that saw 
esences of form and matter, t 


space, instead of their secondary ef¬ 
fects. Leona looked particularly mar¬ 
velous, the many aspects of her that 


no 




















The Answer Out of Space 


John Smith saw, melting into one be¬ 
ing of superb beauty! 

And memory! The whole panorama 
of his multiple life spread before him. 
Not only the memories he had ac¬ 
quired in his John Smith self, but 
also those of the other selves. How, 
after leaving the Doctor’s home, their 
sensitive ego brooding with hurt, 
one self was purposely separated, dis¬ 
sociated, “blocked off” from the rest, 
to live as a normal human being, a 
single physical entity. Left at an 
orphanage step, with knowledge only 
that his name was ‘John Smith’. How 
the others had avoided the ken of 
ordinary human society, nameless, 
within society but not of it, until 
safely attaining full maturity and 
-•power. 

How the mature selves, in tentative 
excursions into society, had aroused 
instinctive antagonism, even panic, 
and had finally given it up. For 
even the Smith self, sacrificing the 
powers in plurality, successfully dis¬ 
sociated from the others, aroused 
vague instinctive reactions in people! 
For as one of the quadruplets, he re¬ 
tained their organic superiority. 

And suddenly he was John Smith 
again, looking at the other two from 
the mind and body of John Smith. 

“The reunion lasted but a few sec¬ 
onds,” one of the other selves said. 
“It was the quickest way to acquaint 
you with the truth, without long ex¬ 
planations. But we must part quick¬ 
ly, else the merging into one will be¬ 
come permanent. The dissociation of 
one self has been successful and must 
continue. Permanent coalescence 
would cause subtle changes in you. 
People would cringe from you, dis¬ 
trust you instinctively as they do 
us!” 

“But this spaceship, and the dead 
self,” Smith asked. He had not had 
*lime to review these later events and 
the memory of them was now with¬ 
drawn. “What does it mean?” 

“When we learned of the impossi¬ 
bility of living among humans we ex¬ 
perimented with space flight,” said 
one. “This ship is our first creation. 
Only one physical attribute went on 
this first journey, we following him 
(Continued On Page 112) 


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112 


(Continued From Page 111) 
mentally, through our common rap¬ 
port. Perhaps on another planet is a 
society where it is not a crime to be 
—different! But this attempt failed. 
The inimical rays of space caused the 
ego to withdraw from this body on 
the cot. First, however, knowing of 
impending death, the stricken self 
set the ship for earth. Our rapport 
was cut off at the death of this at¬ 
tribute. When we heard you bread- 
cast your discovery of a spaceship, 
we naturally came to the Observatory 
to see if it was our ship. Upon see¬ 
ing it was, it became our main pur¬ 
pose to prevent you from meeting the 
ship, learning the truth! But let us 
emerge from this dismal ship.” 


O UTSIDE was the small rocket 
ship by which the two Cun¬ 
ningham—or Om—selves and Leona 
had arrived, when they saw the space¬ 
ship was being diverted to this land¬ 
ing base. 

“You and your wife will take this 
flier and return to your home,” said 
one. 

“But you—” 

“After devising protective meas¬ 
ures, we shall go forth into space, to 
continue our search for another so¬ 
ciety,” was the reply. “Any more 
contact between us will imperil your 
status as a single being. Then you 
would arouse the same extreme reac¬ 
tions in people that we do. Vast, 
spacial distances between us will mit¬ 
igate that peril . 

“But I feel 
Smith. ‘ 
help—” 

Two heads shook in unison. “You 
do not accuse your left hand of slack¬ 
ing if your right can do the job bet¬ 
ter! We are all one ego. We are the 
forerunners of a more highly evolved 
humanity. It is we two who are the 
slackers. It is you who stay behind 
to prepare the ground for the ap¬ 
pearance of others of our kind! For 
others there will be . . 

As John Smith and his wife soared 
homeward in the little rocket, they 
gazed into one another’s eyes, and 
pondered that last statement. 

THE END 














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